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Review: MoRuf’s “Shades of Moo”

Working-class rap? That College Drop-out Boom Bap? Yes, do tell. Relationships, social commentary, and underemployment, that approachable 9-5 flow, adorns Shades of Moo. An artist like MoRuf, you either love or deem him the respectable, “aight.” Flow, precision and lyrics cannot be denied. He leaves it all on the track. No smoke, no hyper-masculine mirrors, just his experience. You know MoRuf. You probably are this guy or dated him. Ha!


We all thought this guy would be the one ‘til you went through his phone, but with all that, y’all are still cool.

His persona is harder than the boy next door and just as compelling as those hotep hipsters, minus the judgment.

MoRuf’s sound has that kickback feel. Set somewhere between ATCQ, early [Kid] Cudi and Mick Jenkins. It’s the perfect score to a game night, impromptu make-out session, or cypher. Neighborhood and Real Eyes are loaded with snapshots of the 90’s. Shades of Moo feels like a coming-of-age tale. It makes you wonder how something so new can sound so familiar. Each track sounds like a true collaboration between him and his producer, not some mash-up. You can feel the trust from the studio. The amount of thought and intention in each song is evident. Audio from “Love & Basketball” provides perfect framing in the ambition driven, Buckle Up. The project is full of these Easter eggs. Lines like “9-5 because my cheddar thin / I’m sick of working for a man that I’m better than,” make your soul burn slow.

As much as I enjoy the material, I’d like to see him take some risks. The sound starts to get monotonous. For projects like this, less is more. At times, it becomes overly stated as we see in Soul Hop. It’s the song equivalent of essays that begin with “According to Webster’s Dictionary.” As the lamentation starts to take place, you hear a track like Fallen, where he deviates from his traditional style. His cadence gets sharper. The rhymes get slicker. My intrigue is rekindled.

Where can MoRuf go? How far? Forget the shades! Give us a kaleidoscope! Open-up! Get vulnerable! Take us to an uncomfortable place in our life. I would love to see him test his range and explore his talent. Nonetheless, Shades of Moo is sprinkled with stand-out guest appearances from SZA and Jesse Boykins III. It’s a banging body of work. Don’t take my word for it. Check him out. He is in these streets, and was last seen performing with the Goddesses of the game, THEESatisfaction.


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