Before I start this review, allow me to preface by saying this: The Renaissance EP is a near classic. Yes, I said it… or in this case wrote it. Let it be immortalized and emblazoned on my tombstone.
In a world where underground music is often overshadowed by mainstream releases—unless Drake retweets it—DMV rapper, Msanii has stormed to the forefront and demands to be heard. Enlisting the help from a smorgasbord of producers including Virginia’s own Razcal, MJ Nichols known for his work with A$AP Ant, Gunplay, Smoke DZA and Bobby Shmurda as well as a host of others, takes the EP to another level beat wise and matches Msanii’s high energy flow. It is the record that will set him apart from his peers as he continues to grow. It is his Section.80. His Comeback Season. It is his Friday Night Lights.
To paraphrase my favorite wrestler, Triple H, it’s just that damn good.
Things start off with a hard hitting introduction made more visceral by the additions of the Mortal Kombat samples on the Mac XVII-produced track aptly named, Enter: Msanii. There, Msanii gives a small sample of what to expect with this project, lyrical knowhow and great beat selection. Texas producer ComputoFre$h lends his craft to Beverly Hills, a great crossover song that Msanii uses to paint a picture of his life now and where he wants to be in the years to come. A fun track that begs to be played while driving through the city with the top down. However, throughout the EP the one constant stays at what brings him to the forefront, the lyrics and the flow. There isn't a track that does not come loaded with content that often takes another listen before the full appreciation can be felt. This also holds true for the features, with each guest flexing their lyrical muscle—especially on the ending track Never Cared where featuring artist Lazy Rios goes toe to toe with Msanii for lyrical supremacy.
The only thing holding The Renaissance back from becoming the instant classic that it should be is its run time. At only 26 minutes, Msanii leaves before he overstays his welcome and leaves the crowd wanting more, but perhaps one or two more tracks would only help his endeavors. It is a very nitpicky critique, especially in a day and age where EPs are the norm and does not detract from this great project. It is just that this writer is very greedy when it comes to good music.