Mind Over Matter are an Aussie hip-hop duo consisting of Willow and Smiles Again, and “Free The Wolves” is their second mixtape, arriving after their debut LP “Keepin’ It Breezy”.
The release begins with a bit of a monologue, and it’s nothing short of ear-opening. Just exactly what you’re in for here is up for debate as soon as it begins, but luckily what follows is a solid selection of original material, remixes, and collaborations with other prominent local hip-hop names, like Coptic Soldier, Phatchance, and Drake MC.
Standout single “It’s Not A Secret” has something truly alluring about it. The beat consists of a sample of ping-pong balls being hit, but the timing and sound that they get from it is something I’ve never quite heard before. With light strings being plucked behind all of this, it’s a good example of the creative ideas Mind Over Matter bring to the table.
Musically the mixtape becomes much more interesting in later tracks, like the orchestral vibe of “Willow & Smiles’ 7th Symphony”. They make great use of samples, featuring a few more than familiar melodies (I’m looking at you “Still Skinny (Remix)” and “For Real Radio Better Play Me Right Now”), but if you go in expecting something fun then you’ll get what you’re after, and there’s more than enough original material for the die-hard fans.
The rapping is solid, and the interplay between Smiles and Willow works well. Phatchance’s production skills manage to balance things out well, and altogether it sounds great.
When it comes down to it, “Free The Wolves” is solid, but doesn’t feel revolutionary for me. It feels consistent, but not very cohesive (at least not until the second half of the album). That said, while it got off to a rocky start, this is a mixtape, not an album. There’s some great songs here, and the vast majority of them are good fun. Well worth a go, especially if you’re into the Australian hip-hop scene.