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Review: Young M.A made ‘Herstory’ at Irving Plaza

Young MA
Young M.A at Irving Plaza (photo via @meisemily)

“This New York, we ain’t supposed to do that mumble shit,” Young M.A rapped at the end of “Kween” last night (4/27) at Irving Plaza. She let the beat drop out and said it again, slower and more clearly. The packed crowd shrieked, probably because this was a little more than your average shit-talking. It was M.A’s second of two nights at Irving Plaza on the Monster Outbreak Tour, and her set was sandwiched between two Atlanta mumble rappers, headliner 21 Savage and 21 Savage associate (and real life cousin) Young Nudy. I don’t know what the other stops of the tour have been like, but in M.A’s hometown, she had the wildest set of the night.

The show was extra exciting for Young M.A because it happened on the day she dropped her debut EP, Herstory. Herstory follows the rapid rise M.A has been on since giving New York its rap song of the summer last year with “OOOUUU.” “OOOUUU” appears as a bonus track on Herstory, and if you had any fear that she’d be a one hit wonder, Herstory should put those fears to rest. Like her Irving Plaza set, her EP opens with “M.A (Intro),” which spends its entire two minutes talking about how far she’s already come, and ends with “Fuck everybody else, it’s all about M.A now.” You need to have some serious conviction to pull that line off on your first release, and M.A’s got it. She sounds like she’s ready to take over the rap world on that song and I don’t know who’s about to tell her otherwise.

As “M.A (Intro)” reminds you with its little Biggie reference, M.A came up on old school New York rap and she’s not about to call B.I.G. “overrated” or refuse to rap over a DJ Premier beat. That said, it’s been a minute since I’ve heard a rapper rep New York’s most classic era this hard and not come off as throwback. M.A is totally in the now. “OOOUUU” stays true to its hometown’s history, but you heard it blasting out of every bar and car window last summer because of its originality too.

“M.A (Intro)” is M.A proving that she ain’t nothing to fuck with, but Herstory has her showing off other sides too. On “Bonnie” she’s both funny and kinda romantic, as she brags that her new girl is so hot that “even my ex wanna fuck her.” On “JOOTD” she’s introspective and still managing to flaunt her bragging rights, talking about just needing to be alone while “somebody’s girlfriend blowing up my cellular.” On “Self M.Ade” and “Same Set,” she tells her ground-up story. If this EP is anything to go by, that “up” is gonna get higher and higher.

Stream Herstory, watch a video of her playing “OOOUUU” at Irving last night, and check out a few more pics from the show below.

M.A has more upcoming tour dates, including the Soulfrito Urban Latin Music Fest at Barclays Center on June 9 with Fetty Wap, Meek Mill, and more (tickets), and Hot 97 Summer Jam two days later with Migos, Joey Bada$$, and more.

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@hennynhoes was POPPIN' ( @brettxsweeney)

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