Rappers, like wrestlers and politicians, are professional liars. By design, the genre rewards embellishment. Your average listener does not want to hear someone rap about selling a modicum of crack or taking the recommended dosage of prescription cough syrup, just like nobody wants to watch a Fast & Furious movie where everyone drives the speed limit. Instead, the history books are filled with drug overlords on every corner, moguls and masterminds plotting world domination, and artists who consume enough drugs to kill an elephant. Part of the charm of Ebenezer’s “Mariachi Flow” is that it feels indebted to this spirit, while lightly subverting it.
Over horns and dog barks, the Hackney, London MC raps about secrets he can’t tell his lawyer and compares his rising wealth to money from overseas, but it’s what he says three bars into the first verse that’s the song’s best line. “Never had to whip a brick, but I get the gist,” raps before repeating the lyric for emphasis. In fairness, who hasn’t listened to a Jay-Z or Pusha T record and immediately pondered whether, given enough time and resources, they too could rank among the world’s most ruthless drug dealers? “Mariachi Flow,” like the best records about flexing, seems urgent. The veracity of Ebenezer’s boasts are beside the point. Sometimes if you ball hard enough, no one will bother to check the receipts.