If you haven’t heard of rapper MJangles, let now be the time you check him out. This New York artist dropped his latest single, “The Writers”, on March 25, 2022. The track is described as “reminiscing over past love.” MJangles and longtime collaborator Lincoln Anton Hart wrote “The Writers” during MJangles’ junior year at Harvard University. The two are college roommates and have been working together since MJangles’ debut EP, Product of Environment.
“The Writers” is a story of change. The narrator of this story seems to be talking to a past lover about their growth and change for the better. Of course, it falls into the void as the other person and the narrator are not speaking. There is a magic to this song and its perfect blend of hip hop and R&B. The song boasts a beautifully sung hook that’s calming and graceful as well as a well-timed and well-performed rap.
My favorite part of this song happens when the bass drops. Yes, the beginning is beautiful, but there is just something powerful, cathartic even, about that drop. MJangles’ vocals are powerful and smooth throughout the song.
I will be the first to admit that hip hop is not my usual genre of music – I tend to prefer more alt rock, country, or pop. However, this was a pleasant surprise with beautiful lyrics and instrumentals. Be on the lookout for MJangles’ latest project, Invictus. This will be his debut full-length mixtape. Follow MJangles on his social media platforms linked below.
Q&A with MJangles
Q: “The Writers” has an interesting mix going on! Could you tell us what inspired the song?
MJANGLES: When I heard that main guitar sample for the first time, I knew instantly I was gonna make a song to it, and I knew it was gonna sound something like this. Lincoln and I produced the beat with like 10 tracks in a single session because it all flowed so naturally. The sample, the harp, and the keys screamed “love.” I knew love meant singing. And I knew love meant sharing my personal experience.
“The Writers” is a song that writes the story of my life coming into contact with another life that really made an impact on me through love, so much that—for better or worse—it’s something I can look back on in a positive light on the whole. Same way all the music I make takes the emotion of a sound and builds a narrative around it, this song was inspired by the emotions I felt when I first started building the music to it: love and nostalgia.
Q: Tell us, what made you decide to pursue a career in music?
MJANGLES: Before music, my life felt like it was on a path that was already laid out for me. I was working hard at school, getting ready to go to college, and then work a “lucrative” job that would make my mom hella rich. When I found music, it felt like finding something that meant a path I could choose for myself. When I’m freestyling, or writing, or producing, or performing, those are all things that are expression of myself, not anything I’m taught in school or instructed to do by a boss. No one can tell the MJangles story, or say what MJangles would say, or make the music MJangles would make, except for MJangles.
Something felt right about doing something only I could do and putting myself on a path that I decided instead of someone else. I think my potential on a path like that ends way further than my potential on a path limited to what people usually do, and from the moment I moved to the US from Ghana my entire life has been dedicated to trying to meet my potential. Music is the only thing that I feel like can really do that to the fullest.
Q: What does the creative process look like for you?
MJANGLES: Every song is different, you know—there isn’t a single way that each and every one of them comes together. I feel like that’s the most exciting part about the creative process. Obviously, there are times where I’ll sit down with the intention of creating something very specific. But other times, I might just be in the mood to explore—or, I’ll be in the middle of doing either of those, then I’ll do something on accident that suddenly turns into something amazing I feel like I gotta build on.
The one thing that stays the same is that whenever I hear something and it feels right for whatever emotion I’m going for or whatever my ear is having the most fun with, I stick to it. I ask myself, “what else does it need?” “What am I hearing that’s not in yet?” And then I ask and answer those questions over and over until the process feels complete.
Q: So, you’re a Harvard student. How has that impacted your music?
MJANGLES: Haha. I mean, for better or worse, it’s definitely had an impact on my career. Harvard is where I did my first shows, from organizing 50-person showcases in dorm basements to opening for Vic Mensa, Bazzi, and Kiiara on the spring concert stage in front of over 2000. Harvard is where I had a lot of the experiences that inform the stories I write about in my music.
Harvard is where I held release parties for my first two projects, Product of Environment and Harlem Nights. Harvard is where I built my first core fanbase from the ground up. And most importantly, I met my brother Lincoln at Harvard, and after he introduced me to Tobias Defoe, we formed our collective Maybe There’s Life together, and naturally, my whole career revolves around MTL.
In a different world, I would’ve felt the freedom to leave school and focus on just music but being a first-gen immigrant in America…the son of a high school dropout…I mean, I had to pursue the degree for my family. Just so I could get it, hand it to my moms, and say “you did that.” Being able to meet Toby and Lincoln, learn to be a performer, and start my career in the way that I have, are blessings that came with the territory. If you’re wondering if the school itself helped my career at all though—HAH, I don’t know about that.
Q: What do you do when you’re not working on music?
MJANGLES: I don’t do much not working on music, to be honest. If I did, I couldn’t really say I was doing everything I could to move forward. School gets in the way here and there, but I mean, if I did everything for school I was “supposed to” on paper, I’d do literally nothing music related. Every day I’m hitting the lab, hitting the practice room, planning releases, mixing, rehearsing, writing, making visuals, as many boxes as I can check. If I’m not doing that, I’m either sleep, writing an essay I have 0 interest in, or kickin’ it with homies.
Q: What are you working on now?
MJANGLES: I’m wrapping up my sophomore project, Invictus. It’s a follow-up to my debut EP, Product of Environment, and it’s my first project that’s like a full-length mixtape with 10 or more tracks. I’ve been working on it for a while, and I couldn’t be more hype to finally release it. Songs like “The Writers” and my previous release, “To Infinity,” are a good taste of the sort of music on it. It’s a lot of multi-layered production based on tight samples, live instruments mixed with programmed, knocking drums of course, storytelling lyrics, and sounds that are a breath of fresh air from a lotta what you hear poppin’ these days. I’ll be releasing a couple more singles and then the full album later this year.
Reviewed & Interviewed by Dana L. Sullivan