A debut might arguably be an artiste’s most important piece of work – you can’t shake off a powerful first impression. Derek Chime – lead artist and CEO of AMIMG – knows this too well and masterfully condenses a lifetime of work in his brilliant, seminal album Mind Over Matter. The title sets the theme of this musical journey, as the mind of this complex songwriter is unfolded in tales of highs, lows, losses and struggles and even shout-outs to those who made the journey with him. The music reflects Derek himself, in complex layers: musical influences from reggae to electronic to rock and afro-pop rhythms permeate the entire project.
Handled entirely by his in-house production team, every sound contributed to the project does not stray from the overall theme which makes for a quite seamless, lush listening experience – even the skits and interludes are not distractions but are integral to the smooth flow of the listening experience. The attention to detail on production is commendable: from the boom-bap scratches on What You Need to the trap-infused Ionrealino to the R&B-tinged December 12th and raga stoner anthem Roll it Up are all tailor-made to suit Derek’s signature sharp delivery. While there is still room for growth for the artist formerly known as Shorty and his young AMIMG team, there is no arguing that they set out to make a statement. MOM sets out to be more than just a hip hop album but rather be a soundtrack to a music lover’s experiences. It is an ambitious task. It handles it well.