The masked Britâ€™s intimacy wears thin on his debut album, supplying flashes of career highs bogged down by filler.
Over the last five years, M Hunchoâ€™s made his name ring loud and clear. His debut 2019 mixtape, Utopia, established him as the best newcomer out of North-West London. That and earlier songs found Huncho own the lane of auto-raps, blending singing and rapping over sedated trap beats. Now a married man with a daughter on the way, M Huncho follows up his two solo mixtapes with his debut album, Chasing Euphoria.
Chasing Euphoria has the right spirit in place, though 70 minutes worth of material compromises the vision at multiple points.
In his album announcement, M Huncho wrote â€œThis is where I let the world know that there is a human being behind this mask.â€ This description is appropriate, considering how guarded M Hunchoâ€™s been in his music. Chasing Euphoria takes a personal approach to the material where thereâ€™s an evident focus on the writing, aiming to make music that represents his true thoughts and will stand the test of time.
Chasing Euphoria is at its best when it sticks to this vision. Itâ€™s why the album opens and closes well, well enough to serve the albumâ€™s highlights. Opening track â€œUnappreciatedâ€ is one of Hunchoâ€™s best-constructed songs to date, putting time into its two-part production, melodies and verses. The Kali Claire-sampling â€œS/o to My Exâ€ sweetly narrates Hunchoâ€™s personal achievements, a track that doesnâ€™t need overthinking beyond the beat and the rapperâ€™s stream of conscience. On the tail end is â€œSincerely, Dadâ€, a letter to his imminent daughter and future son, detailing his life and the wrong paths taken. These moments unlock brand new areas of M Hunchoâ€™s music, although they are far and few from making up the majority of the album.
Across the rest of Chasing Euphoria are songs that donâ€™t live up to the rapperâ€™s previous work. Tame production and forgettable hooks show up more often than expected, letting down several collaborations that wouldâ€™ve been better suited on a deluxe version of the album (â€œLeanâ€, â€œ38â€, â€œMe & My Conscienceâ€, â€œWho Are Weâ€). He channels his best Travis Scott impersonation on â€œGoneâ€ and â€œCBA (Interlude)â€, an unnecessary touch considering how unique Hunchoâ€™s usual vocals sound in the first place. Itâ€™s a common theme of the album: deviating from what makes M Huncho stand out.
Prior to Chasing Euphoria, Huncho has shown the notion that less is more. His first mixtape, Utopia, was fourteen tracks, while Huncholini the 1st and Nafe Smallz collab, DNA, were a track less. With 22 tracks to its name, Chasing Euphoria packs in too much filler that veer from the introspection of the album, nor are the songs ones that rival his best work. If M Huncho wanted to truly accomplish his main idea, such a lengthy tracklist would bound to spoil the show.
Thereâ€™s adamant growth coming from M Huncho. It feels like heâ€™s had his fun, hinting towards retirement and settling down at various points on the album. The highlights on Chasing Euphoria are also the most mature songs, leaving songs designed to be singles exposed amongst the experience. The former moments keep the debut afloat, showing the potential in the project if a leaner approach was taken.
A strong, thirteen-track album lies within Chasing Euphoria. M Huncho sandwiches his most rich and introspective songs with tracks that are by the numbers. But at its best, we find a new, mature man working his way through a new phase of life.
6 / 10
Best tracks: â€œUnappreciatedâ€, â€œSincerely, Dadâ€, â€œSlight More Rainâ€, â€œDoomsdayâ€, â€œS/o to My Exâ€