Local Music Reviews
CLUB MUNGO = Brockhampton + Odd Future
Just a week after Brockhampton, the most iconic rap collective/boy band of the past five years, released their two final albums, Utah-based hip-hop and alternative R&B group CLUB MUNGO are announcing themselves to the world with their debut album, LODESTAR. It’s an introduction that you shouldn’t miss. Comprising Bradley Cinema, Devin Summer, Grandpa Sweats, NEDS and Slugghost, CLUB MUNGO have been making demos since 2019. LODESTAR oozes with confidence in an accessible and dynamic rap and R&B-pop sound not acknowledged enough in Utah’s local scene, while boasting a refreshing chemistry between the members. “Lodestar” is another word for a guiding star, and here it symbolizes the complex process of navigating life as a young adult, balancing financial success with personal happiness, experiencing young love and gaining individual freedom.
LODESTAR starts strong with a bassy, simple beat on “BASEMENT,” which reflects on the group’s passion for their art, as well as the three-year process of writing this album and feeling claustrophobic recording it in a musty, homemade basement studio during summer of ’22. Over a strummed electric guitar and smooth synth chords, Grandpa Sweats and NEDS deliver one of many irresistibly catchy hooks: “I got priorities keeping me busy / I just need to get out of the city.” Later on the track, Bradley Cinema, Devin Summer and Slugghost, reflect on their immense commitment to CLUB MUNGO and their hunger for success, with Slugghost providing a contrasting, lower register in his rapping. “Life’s like a race cuz we still the burbs / Trying to keep pacing, I still never learn / We work on this shit for centuries,” Bradley Cinema raps in the first verse.
“BEACON,” the most aggressive track and my favorite, features a catchy beat and a high-pitched synthesizer with impressive contributions from all five members. Bradley Cinema starts with a playful, zany, stream-of-consciousness verse, and later on, Slugghost’s bassy delivery highlights the dynamic diversity of the group’s individual voices. A couple of minutes in, the energy hits a new level with a passionate, cipher-style verse where Grandpa Sweats and Devin Summer exchange bars. “First goal is get n**** rich / Next goal is talk all my shit / Call me a product of the system,” Grandpa Sweats raps with a yelling, high-energy delivery. Devin Summer responds, matching the energy: “I’m tryna bag all my gifts / $100k for a whip / Generational wealth for my kids.”
“HOLD IT DOWN,” includes yet another accessible beat featuring an acoustic guitar and energetic group chorus: “Don’t let us hear you run your mouth / We hold it down.” Grandpa Sweats’ pop-rap flow fits well with the beat before Slugghost delivers a beautiful falsetto hook about listening to our hearts and changing perspectives to learn to breathe another night. “TURN IT UP” features a yelled hook from Slugghost and a spacey synth reminiscent of Tyler the Creator’s IGOR. “THE DIFFERENCE” flexes CLUB MUNGO’s synth R&B muscles, featuring Grandpa Sweats’ silky vocals, fitting harmonies and a laid-back delivery talking about how to know if a girl is the right one. “The difference ‘tween a bitch and a good girl that she got my heart, yeah she got my heart / And a good girl got me thinking ’bout kids in the backyard.”
“WARM” further proves CLUB MUNGO are way more than just a rap collective: they are a group of undeniably talented and passionate friends working together to create a unique hip-hop, R&B and pop sound where their chemistry is at the forefront. As a rap collective that prioritizes personal bars, not overly complicated and easy-to-listen-to instrumentals and constant, catchy hooks, CLUB MUNGO brings a fresh energy to the local rap scene which Utah is more than ready for. The members speak from their heart; whether that’s NEDS talking about a desire to communicate and support a love interest on “FRESH CUT” or Devin Summer admitting to hiding all the pain he feels under a blanket of mistakes and taking the blame for causing an ex sadness on the sentimental “HOME.”
LODESTAR finds a group of young adults passionately eager for success in their music and personal lives, and each is aware of the unavoidable difficulty required to find that success. CLUB MUNGO’s exploration of this process in their lyrics is cathartic in its relatability and comforting in the way it portrays just how unique everyone’s experience of this world truly is. With LODESTAR, CLUB MUNGO have left an unforgettable imprint on Utah’s growing rap scene, which should bring uncontained excitement for the group’s potential to fully cultivate their talents as a collective. –Andrew Christiansen
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