The MockingBird’s “96” is the perfect balance between vibe and substance

Making a lasting impression beyond the fact that it's lit.

We are in the age of the curator, from meticulously arranged playlists to Odunsi and Nonso Amadi’s recent decision to release a joint project. As it becomes easier to wholly translate our identities through these careful assemblages of things we fuck with, good taste has taken on a new leveraging power. The MockingBird has shown a curious understanding of this with his releases staying away from the conventional Nigerian sound. Between his 808 machine instrumentals and trap rap style that manages to touch all themes from love to flexing to conceptual and sartorial wisdom, he remains just one hit track away from resonating with this generation of rap fans.

The singer, songwriter, producer and rapper has released a new single, “96” and it has all the right feels to spell triumph for personal taste. The piano baseline is haunting as it echoes and even the peppy snare drum riffs don’t cheer the somber ambience. Kid Cudi inspired instrumental serves as the perfect platform for The Mockingbird to address his trust issues saying “Just be a normal Nigerian boy/Life is a bitch keep a watch while you snooze”. His double entendre would go unnoticed if he didn’t keep it up till it becomes obvious how much careful thought goes into writing each line.

The subject matter for “96” is a love interest who he describes as night and day. But he builds the narrative in such a way that he can reference Kendrick Lamar’s “Pool full of liquor so we dive in it” line while shading Nigerian rappers; “Favorite verse from my favorite rappers/ food for my thoughts but it’s making me nauseous”.

Artists who uphold clever lyrical content while going the trap route are the exception and not the rule. Even in America, trap artists till recently were regarded as second class citizens in the hip-hop community. But The MockingBird’s “96” is as much vibe as it is substance. He manages to make a lasting impression of his point of view beyond the fact that it’s lit.

Featured Image Credits: Instagram/Kingbird06

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