Courtesy of Griselda Records
When your home needs you, where will you be? When everything you hold dear starts to move towards disarray what can you do? These thoughts seems to have been weighing on the mind of Griselda Record’s newest star Mach Hommy, when he began crafting his incomparable 2021 album “Pray For Haiti”.
There is little known about the about Mach Hommy aside from his past with Westside Gunn and the rest of Griselda, but what he has chosen to share tells us a lot about what he cares about, most prominently his love for the nation of Haiti. Every bit of the political unrest in the nation of Haiti is worn by Mach Hommy on this project and it paints the project as a true testament of the anxiety and fears of a people whose nation has been in perpetual unrest. When someone simply embodies where they are from the way Hommy does on this project, more comes across then the trauma of Haiti. There is absolutely a sense of hope on this album that shines through simply because Mach Hommy wants it to, sonically it’s hard to ignore that distinctive Griselda sound but on the context of this project it lays a foundation for Mach Hommy to look a his beloved Haiti struggle and still choose to help breathe life into it instead of abandoning it.
This project has a focus that is uncommon in most rap albums released today. What you get from that is an album dedicated to leaving an impression on the mind of the listener. The story telling displayed on “Pray for Haiti” is comparable to some of the very best the genre has ever seen (i.e. Slick Rick or Biggie). Being transported to a new place is always nice in a story but the true greats transport you to new thoughts or new feelings and the amount of times that was able to be done on this album is something to marvel.
The mood conveyed in this project is a frustrated bubbling that upon first a listen it is easy to believe that frustration comes solely from the the troubling situations we have seen unfold in Haiti in the recent past, but as you listen closer the realization hits you that the true frustrations being aimed at those who look at Haiti with shock. Mach Hommy said in his interview with NPR “to those outside of Haiti this is a shock, not to us” and that rings true in every choice made in this project from the choice of samples to the tone of the lyrics. Tracks like “The Stellar Ray Theory” and “Magnum Band” both display the true talent that Hommy possesses while the listener travels through his mind and thoughts as member of the Haitian Diaspora.
Whatever future awaits Haiti in the years to come it seems that in Mach Hommy the nation has another champion not only willing to feel it’s pain but willing to express that pain and look past it to hope for more. There is no part of “Pray for Haiti” that rings insincere because to make something this personal and possibly timeless it takes more than thought and feeling it requires actual love like the kind Mach Hommy obviously contains for Haiti.