Malcolm Anthony’s brief, yet promising discography has been, until this point, largely aided by a multitude of collaborators. His 2017 four-track EP with Terry Mak, much like his 7 track collaboration with Squidnice from earlier this year, features diversity and focus from Malcolm that is forced to take the backseat to others at certain moments. On his newest and first solo effort, however, Malcolm Anthony is doing just what the title suggests: “Chasing Perfect.” Backed by merely one feature and produced by a few longtime friends, “Chasing Perfect,” shows the New Jersey native at center stage, delivering strong lyricism and an exciting variation of flows melodies, and hooks.
“Chasing Perfect,” is a fleeting seven tracks and fifteen minutes but is densely packed with musical variety and lyrical precision. The quick listen, although flawed in certain moments of lackluster inspiration and sonic misdirection, shows immense promise for the up and coming artist. The tracklist is diverse and methodical, clearly designed to maintain a keen sense of cohesion while simultaneously featuring the wide array of vocal techniques that Malcolm Anthony possesses.
The project’s intro features a nostalgic piano progression and a passionate vocal sample from a preacher, later moving into a self-reflective first verse from Anthony. Here he kicks off the mixtape well, reminiscing on his early music career struggles such as navigating the police, trauma at home, and financial troubles. The intro functions as a fitting baseline for the work to come, as Malcolm divulges exactly what he’s gone through to get to the position he’s at now and the creative space that has shaped the following music.
What comes next is no let down. The projects second track, “Nana House,” is an atmospheric banger featuring a smooth hook from Malcolm that details his sneaky drug scheme ran out of his grandmother’s house while she was out at bingo. Between the melodic hooks, we hear Anthony cutting fiercely into the beat, with a quick and eclectic verse that juxtaposes the singing exquisitely. Later, moving in a sort of narrative order, Anthony performs “Racc$,” a celebration of his current success and financial peace. Here, along with another clean hook, the verses between are melodic and wavy, a gearshift that showcases a strong variation in vocal delivery.
The fifth cut of “Off White,” shows Malcom at the pure rap end of the spectrum. Spitting over a bouncy and disorienting beat, Anthony displays his ability to cut the nonsense and just make a pure banger. The track is a refreshing change of pace for the project, marking a reminder of Anthony’s raw talent and taking a quick break from the melodic, pop-inspired trap that is worked in throughout the tracklist.
It is unfortunately after this point that the two closing tracks of “Chasing Perfect,” begin to lose focus. “D.D.C.T. ft Richard Wright” hits lightly, with a good intro flow from Anthony about his ambition, but not much else. The quiet and choppy beat attempts to sync well with the staggered bars from both artists but leaves no similar effect that the earlier cuts do. The project’s final track, a track that is pounding and fun yes, is in no way representative of an otherwise standout project as a whole. The final cut “Trophy” is a spot on re-imagination of a Travis Scott song. Down to the flow, autotune, familiar hook entailing that “lately I’ve been drinking codeine, shit moving slowly,” the dark and mischievous beat, everything about this track is a glaring bite of Travis Scott’s landmark aesthetic.
It is despite these things, however, and ironically in alignment with the title of this project, that “Chasing Perfect,” remains extremely promising. Malcolm Anthony is nowhere near finished. He can hit you with a million different bars, flows, and styles, and he is only getting better. “Chasing Perfect,” is just that, not where Malcolm knows he can reach, but moving in the right direction. The moments of flawed delivery and misdirection are answered by overwhelmingly effective voice, delivery, and passion.
Malcolm Anthony shows here that, in due time and dedication, his already-developed artistry can blossom into something incredible.