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Jack Riedy might have done a couple ollies to “Kick, Push.”
There’s no one quite like Matt Muse, and he wants to be sure you know that too. On his latest single “Ain’t No,” the rapper and educator shouts out different parts of Chicago to show how his pride in himself is really pride in his city: “They say it ain’t no nigga like a chi town nigga / Ain’t no king like this south side king / Shawty drip on lake, she my east side thing / With some north side baddies who like to west side swing.” Muse boasts about getting money and making positive impacts with his work, even if the accolades come later. But he’s not too proud to admit that he couldn’t do it without his girl who’s “bout that life”, his friends who straighten up his crown, and the fertile scene in Chicago, shouting out ascendant west side rap crew Pivot Gang in particular.
With warm piano chords and pared-back percussion supplied by Ace da Vinci, “Ain’t No” is a comfort food song that recalls big-hearted early Kanye tracks like “Family Business,” “Roses,” and the OG “Home.” After all, Muse previously called Late Registration his “favorite album of all time across all genres.” His bars are steeped in ‘00s pop culture references, likely soaked up while young Muse was shuffling through Lupe Fiasco mixtapes on his iPod: Harvey Dent’s two faces, Unbreakable’s Mr. Glass, Allen Iverson’s dismissal of practice and iconic braids.
The “Ain’t No” video, directed by Muse himself, shows the rapper at home with his squad, gathered around the kitchen table with solo cups during a heated card game. A friend methodically braids Muse’s hair as he raps to the camera. Considering he named his last project Nappy Talk, it’s like watching David Bowie trade the face paint and neon tights for slicked back hair and a sharp suit. The video adds greater weight to the single’s cover by showing the community that invested time and care into Muse’s braids, the same energy he’s in turn putting into his music for his city.
Muse’s new EP, Love & Nappyness, drops on August 9th.