About a month ago, a friend of mine contacted me via twitter to tell me about an artist from Washington, D.C. known as Maimouna Youssef. Normally when people tweet or retweet music on my timeline I brush it off and keep it moving (I’ve had many bad experiences checking out random demos that were sub-par). In this particular instance I decided to follow the link since my man generally shares the same affinity for authentic Hip Hop music.
Anyway, I clicked the link and it redirected me to Maimouna’s Band camp profile. She had just released The Reintroduction Of Mumu Fresh, her brand-new mixtape hosted by DJ Dummy. The entire mixtape was uploaded for download/stream along with a brief description of the content and cover art. I won’t front, the mixtape cover made me smile (Mumu in a b-girl stance with a boom box stereo) and I was really hoping the content lived up to the nostalgic artwork.
There’s so much to say about this artist and this mixtape. Having reviewed a plethora of disappointing releases prior to hearing The Reintroduction Of Mumu Fresh, this is exactly what I needed to be inspired to write again. Maimouna Youssef’s talents as a vocalist and song-writer are on fully display throughout this tape. Songs such as “We’re Already Royal”, “Nappy” and “Get Ya Mind Right” are clever interpretations of popular hits executed much better than the original versions. Maimouna’s socially conscious lyrics explore a variety of themes including the college financial aid crisis (“Student Loans”), community pride (“Nappy”, “We’re Already Royal”), femininity (“International Alpha Woman’s Anthem”) and self-empowerment (“Tell My Story”). Additionally Youssef has an incredible sense of humor as exhibited on “Crunch n Grub”, which flips Beyonce’s “Drunk In Love”.
While Maimouna indeed follows the prototypical format for contemporary mixtapes, it is her original compositions that shine the brightest. “Stay” is a brutally honest song about Maimouna’s struggle to find contentment in a relationship:
“Please know my heart hurts ‘cause I wish that I could be/The type of woman that would stand beside you faithfully/Wish I could hear a sappy love song and just believe/That any two people were meant to be/Eternally.”
Conversely, “I Love You In Every Way” is an erotic dance hall ballad on which Youssef spits:
“Tickle my eardrum whenever I’m next to you/You’re nowhere near dumb that’s why I’m impressed with you/It aint your car or your crib or your vestibule/Cause I got that too, Boo/I need the rest of you.”
Indeed Maimouna’s vocal range is limitless, going from soulful to sensual seemingly at will. If you close your eyes and listen to “Stardust” you’ll feel like you’re floating on air, truly a transcendental experience.
In conclusion, “The Reintroduction of Mumu Fresh” is an incredible mixtape from one of Washington, D.C.’s finest. Maimouna has definitely made an impression on me. I’m looking forward to her next full-length project, as well as exploring her back catalogue.
“I’m sort of the boss/So get lost/Lips like honey wine but I spit hot sauce!”
Pardon that last quote. Mumu gets beside herself sometimes.
Final Grade: A