The anxious, three-year wait is over as Katorah Marrero, widely known as Young M.A., finally delivered her debut album, “Herstory in the Making,” on Sept. 27.
The wickedly clever emcee always kept her fans intrigued with her bars, from her last studio effort “Herstory EP” to her astounding YouTube freestyles. Now with 20 tracks plus a bonus, M.A. grants a debut detailing her gritty confessions and entrepreneurial flexes in her primary passion.
Ever since the viral success of “OOOUUU,” the public has been rocking with M.A., Me Always, to the point of saying the phrase in regular vernacular. It was the freestyles of “I Get the Bag” and “EAT” that made me know that this woman would break gender and lyricism barriers. Although she doesn’t identify with labels anymore, she wants her fan-base to just recognize her music to bring unity and raw emotion, which I find highly respectable.
The “No Mercy (Intro)” introduced the album in the M.A. way, where the light piano chords gear towards the heavy drums similar to her rhyme scheme. She works up joyful lines to make her grit explode on the mic in the middle. The exuberance then goes head-first into “Da Come Up” where she raps funny punchlines on her new materialism.
Here we get into a main side of Marrero as a queen of flexing on the singles “BIG” and “PettyWap.” The 808s done by resident producer Mike Zombie and Amadeus are great because they match Marrero’s trademark, conversational flow. It’s like M.A. is our regular homie or resident life of the party when she rhymes.
“My Louis clothes is French, that’s what I’m dressed in / Dior my cologne, she said my scent is her obsession / I became possessive soon as the money came in my possession,” she raps.
“PettyWap” is more perfect because all the qualities are formulated like a simple three step equation: velvety flow, tropical instrumental and a dreamy video.
Young M.A. reminds me of the hip-hop legend The Notorious B.I.G because of her slick poetry and her natural bravado. I also see a side of the late, great Nipsey Hussle for her patience in developing her first project. She had multiple chances of reaching rapid super-stardom, yet turned down the TV deals or show openers because she chose to bide her time. Now her presence is here to show the world her uncanny charisma and reflections.
Two of my favorite tracks on the LP are prime examples of who M.A. is, starting with “Smooth Criminal.” Like the title, Marrero is having fun being a “sexy-a** cocky individual,” setting the booth ablaze with silky raps. Right after comes “Stubborn Ass,” which is one of the best rocky relationship songs out right now. She details the ups and downs of a partner’s stubbornness, including road blocks in communication and mood swings. You have to see the music video because the visual is therapeutic for couples with these issues.
“I don’t even want her if she too typical (No) / The woman of my dreams will be a true miracle (True) / Don’t got time for love because it's too difficult / I can tell you 'bout my past, but it’s just too critical,” she rhymes on “Smooth Criminal.”
Many hip-hop heads have not heard a female rapper spit effortlessly like M.A., but she has been writing rhymes since she was 9 years old. You can hear the dedication plus aggression in tracks like “Bleed” coming for blood or in the tribute “No Love” to her late brother. The release date is actually the 10th anniversary of her brother’s untimely passing. The sharp focus is present because the passion dripping off M.A’s message is directly aimed at life’s hateful surprises.
“Never went to church, ’cause I believe in God, not a pastor / Yeah, the Devil work, but God work faster/ I seen my brother go from human to Casper / From a bed to a casket / Tryna move on, but it’s like my life goin’ backwards,” M.A. says.
We got the braggadocio and romantic side of M.A., but there’s one more ingredient: introspective. On “Car Confessions,” she contemplates all the haters, family and rap lifestyle she’s still coming to grips with.
“What you give is what you given, gotta make wise decisions / Gotta stay tunnel vision, gotta avoid collision,” M.A. raps. She’s saying respect karma rightfully and you’ll get amazing actualities, which M.A. is trying to inspire through her music.
The last two songs end the album on two sides: one with meditative truth and the other with explosive confidence. Marrero’s soul is fusing with the studio in letting out more grief in “Sober Thoughts.” How she confronts pain is through music, and this R&B side of reminiscing exes or inner demons is lyrically superb. “Crime Poetry (Outro)” was all the cocky self-assurance that many wanted out of the Brooklyn MC, as she completely snapped in the second verse. If you weren’t a fan of M.A before, the outro will change your mind since she rhymes with scorching lava to turn the microphone into magma.
Young M.A. is a promising, cool-as-ever rapper with the genius wordplay and confident grind for evidence. The trap bangers showcases her cocky flows, and the introspection lets us in to Katorah’s confessions without the Hennessy. When the tracks are emotional, that’s her true motivation to keep the independence of M.A. music. She will be around for a long time, or whenever she feels like dropping some heat. The self-proclaimed Queen of Brooklyn will deliver.
Echo rating: 9 out of 10.