Introduction

Since it was teased from the start of the year, Magic & Bird has been one of the most anticipated releases of the summer. This is the year that CHH returned, with artists such as Lecrae, Andy Mineo, and NF all dropping albums in later half of this year. But before Andy Mineo drops the long-awaited follow-up to 2015’s Uncomfortable, he announced a “fun summer mixtape” would be released with his friend and collaborator, Wordsplayed. Andy Mineo launched his career in 2011 with his mixtape Formerly Known and his debut album Heroes For Sale. He followed that up with his 2013 EP Never Land before dropping his 2015 sophomore album Uncomfortable and his 2016 single Candy Rain. Wordsplayed launched his career with his 2016 debut album Clowntown. Now, the two rappers have joined forces for Magic & Bird, an album named after the legendary NBA stars Magic Johnson and Larry Bird. This has been one of my most anticipated releases of the year and I cannot wait the listen and review this album.

1. HI-FIVE (LOADING)

This introduction track is a comedic, retro-styled track. The first half of this song is styled like a retro sports game centering around Magic Johnson and Larry Bird. The second half sees a coach giving a comedic attempt at a motivational speech warning kids about the “high-contact sport” that is life and warning against ending up as a greasy car salesman. It perfectly sets the tone for the album: fun and nonsensical joy.

Track Rating: 8/10

Grade: A-

2. KIDZ

The first single from the mixtape was well-received and continues to shine on the album. Wordsplayed goes first, rapping about success on Spotify and his life. Andy goes second, rapping about love and individuality. The connective tissue that ties their verses together, “I’m in the pocket like Brady/Magic and Bird like the 80s”. As they claim in the hook, they do it for the kids, and this “kid” throughly enjoyed this track. It’s well-constructed with a great beat and expert vocalization. They control this track with master flow-patterns and timing.

Track Rating: 10/10

Grade: A+

3. DUNK CONTEST (MAGIC BIRD)

The second single appears next. Once again, Wordsplayed starts, but it’s a back and forth between him and Andy. In comparison, the beat is more low-key than the last track, and the hook is more simple, but it works. It’s fun, with great lyricism from Andy and Wordsplayed. Their timing and chemistry is even stronger in this track and more precise. Andy has some outro commentary on Magic & Bird’s rivalry that seamlessly plays into the theme of the track. Overall, it’s a fun song, and solid display of lyricism from the two.

Track Rating: 8/10

Grade: A

4. SAY LESS

As soon as I heard “GAWVI, get em,” I knew we were in for a fun time. GAWVI is the Reach Records producing genius and artist in his own right. Andy comes out with some mumbling rapping, which was different, but he picks up his steam as he goes on. This is the first time ever I can honestly say Wordsplayed was better than Andy Mineo on a track with the two. Wordsplayed’s verse was straight fire with great lyricism, while Andy’s was more subdued than normal. The beat was different, with Eastern vibes and 80s influence and it works. Overall, this track is strong, but stands as the weakest of the project so far. The hook is mediocre, as his the first verse. The track is well produced, but the lyricism comes back hard in the second verse. It’s a pretty decent song.

Track Rating: 7/10

Grade: B+

5. DISQUIS (Skit)

The skit is performed by Andy Mineo doing an accent and it’s hilarious. The skit sees an Olympic tryout telling kids in a comedic fashion to encourage kids to never give up, telling them of his attempt to throw a disquis and his training, resulting him being covered in sweat. It’s mildly funny. It’s not the funniest of the spoken material so far, but it’s a solid intermission.

Track Rating: 7/10

Grade: B+

6. R.U.T.S.

This beat already sounds intense in the beginning, but then Andy gets on and takes an even more intense command. The verse is very strong and Andy slays this track with expert lyricism and a superior flow pattern. He rides the beat flawlessly. The hook reveals what R.U.T.S. stands for: Run Up The Score. Wordsplayed jumps on and rides this beat just as perfectly. His flow pattern is strong and his lyricism, while not as incredible as Andy, is amazing in his own right. It’s a perfect workout or athletics song. It’s easily the best offering so far since KIDZ.

Track Rating: 10/10

Grade: A+

7. JUDO (feat. Judo)

The third single released features the producer Judo. JUDO is a strong track. It has the sleakest production of the album so far. Andy gets on with great lyricism and rides the beat well. The vocals on this song are beautiful and fun to listen to. The hook is silly and fun and work perfectly with the song. Wordsplayed has fun on this song and rocks it. They both have killer one liners in their verse that absolutely slay it. It’s a great song that also works in hyping and in athletic situations.

Track Rating: 9/10

Grade: A+

8. BREAK BREAD

The vocals are coated in some auto tune that adds to the track, which as good production. Andy comes in with some strong lyricism about being isolated in the industry by producers and merchandisers. This track has a great hook. Wordsplayed makes references to the Minnesota Vikings, which makes me rather bias, but he continues the same themes very well. It’s the most subdued track of the album, but it works very well.

Track Rating: 8/10

Grade: A

9. METRO (Skit)

The second skit sees a lady lose her metro card and she talks Andy about it. It’s not as funny, but it really is about how this lady has faith in the Lord about being okay. It’s a solid intermission.

Track Rating: 7/10

Grade: B+

10. DANCE (You See It)

This track launches strong  with great production and Wordsplayed, who absolutely kills it in his first verse with strong lyricism. “I told I was kinda strange, and, yeah, I can’t debate it” is my favorite line. Andy jumps in with a good hook and then launches into his verse. He rides the beat well with great timing and masterful lyricism and amazing wordplay. It’s a solid jam with a great ending.

Track Rating: 9/10

Grade: A+

11. TEAM (feat. BEAM)

The track starts with some vocals that sound Jamaican reggae and work very well on the track. The song sounds like it’s slower and is about teamwork and how you need a team to make it in life. Andy jumps in with some great lyricism and a strong verse featuring personal stories. Wordsplayed follows him with a strong verse with some personal stories as well. This song has the best hook out of all of the tracks on the album.

Track Rating: 9/10

Grade: A

12. LEGEND

The track starts with the guy from DISQUIS and Wordsplayed yelling at the audience about needing to work until they sweat to get better. The track then launches into a what sounds like the perfect culmination of the album. Wordsplayed jumps in first and gives a strong verse with some solid wordplay. The hook is just some remixed phrases, but it works well. Andy jumps in with a very strong verse about how long he will last and his team, tying every theme together. His verse is incredible with amazing lyricism and some personal introspection. Andy jumps back into his second verse and makes some comments on Donald Trump and his ex-girlfriend (unrelated, but they’re both killer lines). Wordsplayed jumps into his second verse and talks about his situations. The most poignant line in song: “There ain’t no time to rest when you’re trying to be a legend”. This is a great song from both men, who are talented enough to do just that. The track then transitions into Wordsplayed and the guy from DISQUIS giving some comedic coaching to someone about wanting to smell..no, taste, the hardwork the audience has been putting in. It’s a comedic little thing to cap off the best song on the album.

Track Rating: 10/10

Grade: A+

13. LAY UP (Bonus)

Originally released as a single by Andy Mineo in early 2015 and featuring Wordsplayed, this fun jam returns and fights a perfect fit as a bonus track on this mixtape. It’s an absolute jam with some great lyricism and wordplay from both Andy Mineo and Wordsplayed. It’s a fun way to cap off the album after the semi-serious note that LEGEND ended on.

Track Rating: 10/10

Grade: A+

Conclusion

This album is a fun and very strong piece of music that is filled with an energy that comes from two best friends making music they’re passionate about together. They’re fantastic together and is a perfect project to remind us the fun that Andy can have before he comes back with his fourth album that is sure to hold nothing back. In the end, Magic & Bird is filled strong lyricism, solid production, and masterful flow patterns. In the end, the message of their album rings true and they kill it: There ain’t no time to rest when you’re trying to be a legend. The two of them are a perfect match. Overall, their album is very strong and I can’t wait to hear what’s next from the two.

Album Rating: 9/10

Grade: A

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