Matt Muse: Growth, Unchecked

A scholar of all things Chicago, Matt Muse is the embodiment of hometown pride. A regular in the local scene, he’s known for his passion and contribution to the community as a teaching artist. But Matt is first and foremost a musician, and his upcoming project Nappy Talk demands the spotlight. When the dust settles, Matt Muse is a rapper, a man made and molded by music, repping for the city that made him.

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"I want my music to sound like what my life on the south side...it's blunt, it’s direct, it’s hard, it’s real, it’s fun, it’s melodic, it’s me."

—Matt Muse

Hailing from Avalon Park/Chatham, the 25-year old emcee recently took to Twitter, announcing his first full length album, Nappy Talk. A two part project, with the first half arriving this May, Nappy Talk sees a more technically skilled, yet playful and charismatic, artist emerge. Matt Muse maintains his socially conscious mindset, but balances it with images of himself and his own life. The concept for Nappy Talk comes from a struggle that many African Americans can relate to, but one that Matt has personally reclaimed and flipped the script on. “The theme of it is me really showing my personality. My hair is nappy but there's a confidence that comes with it. I think that us African Americans with hair like me, you’re told to curate your hair, cut that shit off, to exist in a professional environment. You have to either be doing something entertaining, or you have to fit into a mold, and there was always this pressure when I was growing up to have my hair cut, and have waves and shit like that, because it was the norm.”

In “Nappy Talk”, Matt exudes self love, weaving it into the narrative and themes of the album. “The project kind of says fuck all of that, here's the confidence that comes with my hair. I haven't cut the top of my hair since 2015, February, so it's 3 years now. That literally coincides with the music that I'm making and really being like, okay I can actually do this shit. The project is really just me talking a lot of shit about how much I love myself, and my people, and my hair, and my rap.”

The theme of it is me really showing my personality. My hair is nappy but there’s a confidence that comes with it.

Matt really grounded his own passion for music in college. Prior to that, much of his time in high school was spent alone or with a few close friends, and by graduation he had produced over 700 beats. College was where Matt came to find his confidence. His time there was an opportunity to experience the world and the different people within it. In person his personality is magnetic and commanding, the type to naturally draw others in. This is where his natural ability as a storyteller shines.

Nappy Talk feels like a revival. Breathtaking, confident, and unapologetic, it’s an introduction that demands every ounce of your attention. Each track projects self-confidence, the feeling that losing just isn’t an option, that the future has been decided. Matt is here to win, no matter what the cost. Nappy Talk sounds like Chicago. Evoking nostalgia, “I wanted Nappy Talk to sound like the music I heard folks blasting in their Cadillac’s and Impalas driving down my block when I was growing up, but still match my brand of writing and lyricism.” With a family history deeply seeped in music, it’s easy to see where Matt gets his musical chops. Nappy Talk is his true introduction to the music community, speaking to the listener in a way that speaks to their soul, while exposing his own. “I want my music to sound like what my life on the south side sounded/sounds like. It’s blunt, it’s direct, it’s hard, it’s real, it’s fun, it’s melodic, it’s me.”

It’s no overstatement to say that part one of the project will have an exceptional effect on the scene, and propel Matt further along in his career. This is just the beginning, and we don’t yet know what part two has in store for us. But we’re ready and willing to see where this journey leads, and with Matt Muse as our guide, our destination is bound to be worthwhile.