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Philly Producers Moor Mother and Mental Jewelry Team Up on 'Crime Waves'

Stream the often dreamy, sometimes nightmarish new collaboration, out digitally and on vinyl June 16 via Don Giovanni.

Moor Mother's new collaboration with fellow Philadelphia producer Mental Jewelry, and follows her immense 2016 debut, Fetish Bones, which sent a rolling shockwave through both the experimental hip-hop world and the mainstream music press. It also utterly captivated me, Noisey's metal nerd in chief; it's rare that I'm so drawn to a hip-hop-based project, but I suppose that speaks to the inherent darkness of Moor Mother's music—a jagged, artful melange of noise, industrial, hip-hop, power electronics, protest music, afrofuturism, witchery, feminism, revolution, and freedom.


The six-track EP is due out June 16 on Don Giovanni, and takes a hard left away from the abrasive, destructive Afrofuturist noise tapestries we've come to expect from Moor Mother's Camae Ayewa. Instead, Moor Mother x Mental Jewelry is deceptively low-key, its beats drifting slowly through the ether, synths sleepy and minimal, as Ayewa's deep, knowing voice coils through the smoke like a wise serpent, spitting wisdom and venom in one low breath. She speaks of racism, death, and systematic violence, backing up her words via laptop using modern broken beat/sample based techniques and live instrumentation. Her trademark pounding, whip-snap crackly beats do surface on tracks like "Matter of Time," which sees her voice harden to steel and rhymes grow fangs, offering a nice counterbalance to the woozy, bad dream vibes on "Death Booming" or "Streets Dept."

"Two of these tracks—"Hardware" and "Death Booming"—were meant for Fetish Bones, but I couldn't get them to sound how I wanted," Ayewa states. "I really loved Mental Jewelry's production, though, so I suggested that we make and EP. We had bonded over free jazz, drum and bass, and heavy dub—we just spent hours talking about music before we even recorded a track."

Listen below, and preorder the record from Don Giovanni here.

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Photo by Bob Sweeney?.