MCMD delves into his childhood, and personal challenges as an adult whilst delivering a superb hip-hop experience.
There’s always a backlog of albums and EPs that have been submitted for review at The Unheard Nerd. Finding the time to get through them all is a challenge and at times the whole process can be somewhat overwhelming (cry me a river etc..). However, every now and again I come across an album that stand out, makes it onto my iPhone and becomes a regular feature on my work commute playlist. Leaf Tag is one such album.
MCMD (Matt Dixon) is one half of the hip-hop duo Dedicated Servers hailing from Boise, Idaho. In an interview with a local online publication, Boise Weekly, it appears that the vocalist was also feeling under pressure from his overload of commitments to the project, to his long-time collaborator and he even contemplated walking away from music: “I was just kind of overwhelmed with work and we were doing a lot of stuff for Dedicated Servers. And I definitely had that feeling that I was holding Dave [Boutdy] back because he was waiting on me for a lot of stuff.”
Dixon immersed himself into his first solo album titled Leaf Tag. The result is a thirteen track journey where the rapper pulls from his personal life, both past and present, for inspiration. With an openness and honesty that could easily have come across as maudlin, the resulting release winds up as quite the opposite.
Throughout the album you’ll find samples taken from home video tapes made by the rapper’s father. The samples a snippets of conversations between Dixon and his siblings and family serve to give an insight into the thoughts and learning experiences of a boy that have developed and shaped the man. In one such excerpt we hear Dixon’s father asking the boy if he’s excited to go to school? We hear a young voice explaining why he is not. It’s an experience we may not all have shared, but can certainly relate to, and that’s really why Leaf Tag stands out as something a bit different. Through the lyrics and samples the album is incredibly honest and accessible.
Musically you’ll find an upbeat feel presented through clean breaks and beats created by an ensemble cast of producers. Lyrically there are enough hooks to have you singing along in a short time. Dixon exhibits a relaxed flow and confident delivery.
Dixon is at his most open when drawing on the personal challenges he faces as a sufferer of diabetes. Recalling the point in time that he became aware of the problem, the conversations with doctors and loved ones and the resulting actions required to keep the condition under control. Where the subject matter veers away from personal life matters you’ll find the source material moves towards the nerdier side of things with enough pop-culture references to satiate any nerdcore hip-hop fan.
STANDOUT TRACK: Game Over ft Clev Speech
Leaf Tag by MCMD dropped on May 29th and is available to download for $9.99 via the Dedicated Servers bandcamp page.