Every week, we tell you about an album we need to spend time with. This week’s album is Tuez-Les Tous, the new album from Mach-Hommy and DJ Muggs.
The execution of Mach-Hommy withers the most baseline descriptions into unworthy cliché; elusive and exclusive are the two most likely suspects, forever tangled in the mysterious aura of a thorough wordsmith from Jersey. Haitian flag draped on his face, art-dealer price tags on his work, Mach-Hommy is a master of self who acts accordingly. Accessibility comes at a premium, and the work is undeniably engrossing, operating on an immeasurable, hypertextual plane that overloads the senses and the memory banks. As stated in a recent Billboard interview, he feels even the art prices cheapen the value of the feelings he’s distilled. His truth speaks for itself: In a window of three years, he’s incited a fervor of hype from an (under)groundswell of heads all rabidly consuming whichever slivers of his work leak into zip drives and bootleg streams. Mach-Hommy’s work is only found in trace amounts on streaming services; the following album is one of these traces, drenched in history and the limits of the ego.
Tuez-Les Tous — which translates to “kill them all” — is Mach’s full-length collaboration with the newly reborn underground mainstay DJ Muggs, currently on a tear of records with the champions of the revitalized East Coast classic sound. (It’s one of the only Mach records to date that’s caught a leak prior to wide-release, not counting the many collectibles that’ve circulated once someone’s purchased them.) Much like the rest of the Mach canon, Tuez-Les Tous requires an immense attention to detail to even remotely excavate its depths; Mach couldn’t make background music if he tried. The album’s namesake reasserts its presence at every turn, the soundbites — and sometimes Mach — calling the listener to a murderous action. The target’s uncertain on the surface, and likely embedded to those who’ve opened themselves to receiving the energy wherever Mach sends it. He’s operating on an insider level; he’ll joke, but we are not inside of a joke. In these 30 minutes, it’s easy to mistake even the brighter moments as unhinged glimpses into a purgatorial reprieve. It’s an easy record to sink into as one sinks their teeth into it, trudging through the sludge of the underworld as Mach ponders the otherworldly like mere small talk.
In recent works, Muggs has flexed his penchant for crafting the soundscapes of a grumbling underbelly often thematically matched by the wits of whichever MC graces them. He reaches into an even filthier trick bag on Tuez-Les Tous, lacing Mach with the backdrops enabling some of his most haunting works yet. The minimalist boom-bap fare for the album’s many collab moments — often a few loops and chops with sparse drums — is balanced by a psych-rock lean that finds Mach enchanting the listener as he weaves the remnants of his experiences into a near-undetectable code, melting languages and memories together at his unforgiving wish. Sometimes it feels as if he’s rapping over nothing, the bare space quickly engulfed by whatever Mach pulls from the void. Even if that’s reinforcing how real he is for the umpeenth time, drawing a metaphor from another impossible place as he does. (What did he say about the Rolls Royce coming with anal prolapse? Does that mean he can drop the top? If so, why that image?) By leaning even further into the potential of such impossibility, Mach and Muggs have achieved an early contender for one of the year’s best rap albums as well as an effort that holds its weight among the best in Mach’s ever-expanding oeuvre. Come prepared to surrender oneself to the whims of two masters at work.
Michael Penn II (aka CRASHprez) is a rapper and a former VMP staff writer. He's known for his Twitter fingers.