We can all stop complaining about how much we miss the 90’s and how much better everything was “back in the day” now, because Philadelphia’s own, Famey Miscellany has just satisfied so much nostalgia with his MCMXC (1990 for those of you who can’t read Roman numerals, like me) Vol. 1 mix-tape. This project is pretty dope, not only because of the whole return of the 90’s concept that every rapper under 25 has adopted, but because Famey (or B as he’s known) created a story out of this mixtape. To quote his website, “MCMXC Vol. 1 is beginning of the nostalgic journey” using the “Nickelodeon Days” as his setting.
Y’all remember waking up on the weekend, being geeked to spend half of your day watching Nicktoons and eating Frosted Flakes, and the other half outside playing in the streets with your friends? Well the “Cartoons and Cereal (Intro)” is exactly that. The second track, “Posterchild” plays out like something from the Illmatic cutting room floor. Don’t assume that’s a diss either, not too many rappers could make a track worthy of being a Nas throwaway, Posterchild has everything it needed to be great in ’94, except actually being around in ’94.
“Sega Genesis” is where MCMXC Vol. 1 gets lit, as the sound of Famey blowing into that Sega cartridge to make the game work filled my 24 year old body with so much joy, I may just hit a pawn shop after work to cop one. The game in question by the way, is Sonic 2 and between Famey’s slightly morose, yet sentimental lyrics and the background noise of video games mixing in with the production, it’s a bit much. Not necessarily in a bad way, but B touches on a lot of the oft-ignored memories of 90’s babies: broken households and being raised by grandparents due to the crack epidemic that left many of our 80’s era parents absent; and our codependency on video games and entertainment as a way to cope with the violence that urban neighborhoods were notorious for back then.
Speaking of urban neighborhoods in the Pac and Biggie era, there was nothing better to me as a kid than being able to go outside. Maybe I was being fast, maybe I was sick of my grandmother, I don’t know, but walking up and down the road everyday in the summer with my crew was the highlight of my childhood. We ate seeds, we posted up at the courts, and we got in trouble. While “Peachfuzz” isn’t necessary about those things, in that order, it does chronicle Famey’s adolescence, a time for him when he was busy being out and about, and becoming a man.
Not only does he accomplish this, but by the end of the mixtape, Famey gets the girl (“Go Head Girl”) by hopefully, singing Blackstreet’s No Diggity, No Doubt to her in front of all his homies. What makes MCMXC Vol 1 so wonderful, is that it isn’t necessarily a story about how a boy becomes a man, but in Famey’s case, it’s about how a boy becomes the man. The best part about this project is the length. It’s only six tracks long, including the two intros. MCMXC works despite this, and I think Vol 2 has the potential to be dope as well, if and only if, Famey stays succinct. Too much nostalgia and stale, repetitive 90’s- sounding beats have crippled rappers before. Don’t mind me though, check it out for yourself; I was sold on the Hey Arnold! references alone.
Best Tracks: *It’s six tracks long, they’re all pretty decent.