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8Ball and MJG Drop New Single/Video

As someone who came up on the OG sounds of a bygone generation in hip-hop, it’s been tough lamenting the seeming lack of aggression on the mainstream end of the genre in the past few years. Where there was once an attitude in rap that made the music so much more gripping than everything else in pop, there’s now a sense of postmodernity that seems to preclude every big statement from the biggest artists in radio; that said, 8Ball and MJG aren’t playing to trends with their new single “They Don’t Love You.” Produced by MJG, this is a track that celebrates brawn, and it’s got an immense appeal to say the least.

This is one of the heaviest grooves I’ve listened to in a minute, but it doesn’t make it harder for our rappers to form a foundational verse right at the onset of the track. On the contrary, it would appear from the structure of “They Don’t Love You” that MJG prefers a bit of tension present against every lyric he and 8Ball have to offer in this mix. There’s less room for atmospheric melodies, but hey, who needs them in a performance as tight as this one is?

Both sets of vocals are very natural and imply a lot of swagger where I feel like there wouldn’t have been any, but I wouldn’t credit all of the confidence in this groove to the rapping. MJG stacked this piece to give us as weighty a hook as possible, and to some extent, I don’t think there’s a situation where either he or 8Ball wouldn’t have come into the climax swinging as hard as a drunk stumbling out of the club after last call. Their discipline allows for a lot of fireworks and almost no overindulgence in the big picture here.

There are no embellishments over the instrumentation in “They Don’t Love You,” and this relative lack of frills puts a spotlight on how much both of these guys put stock in the organic tones of retro hip-hop. It would be easy to pigeonhole their sound as a throwback just listening to what they do in this single, but the cerebral element in their approach is the bigger attribute to take away here. I’d like to see their competition stand up with a beat this pulverizing, but the truth is most wouldn’t be able to even with a synthetic boost.

Old school vibes are feeling fresh once again in “They Don’t Love You,” and if you’re not paying attention to the music 8Ball and MJG are making right now, this track and its companion video just might get you intrigued. Hip-hop needs more venom coming out of the underground and spilling into the mainstream scene, and with the energy that this pair has to offer us in this track, they’re making it very obvious that selling out their ideals for a sample or a feature somewhere on someone else’s content just doesn’t appeal to them in any way, shape, or form.

Mindy McCall



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