Mozzyâ€™s stock, like the Dogecoin he bought at half a penny, has exploded in recent years. He turned heads on the Black Panther album, cracked Billboardâ€™s top 50 with his May 2020 album Beyond Bulletproof and dropped bars on the Venom 2 promotional track, â€œLast One Standing,â€ alongside Eminem and Polo G. In recent weeks, Kommunity Service collaborator YG even hailed him as the closest modern rapper to Tupac.
Arriving only seven days after his second collaborative album of the year (Lil Bloodâ€™s Bloody Waters), Mozzyâ€™s newest tape, Untreated Trauma, catches the California representative once again vividly coloring life near Oak Parkâ€™s 4th Avenue. Despite a heavy title and brooding cover art, Untreated Trauma is not a therapy session, rather a well curated Mozzy sampler.
Like most Mozzy projects, Untreated Trauma plays like an exercise in balancing lifeâ€™s blessings with its tragedies. For every party, thereâ€™s a funeral. For every triumphant tale of gang activity, thereâ€™s an incarcerated friend whose kids have to grow up without their father. Mozzy is careful about how he reminisces, alternatively romanticizing and de-romanticizing the connection between rap and the streets.
Mozzyâ€™s rapping is natural, as if heâ€™s just saying the first thing that pops into his head. This stream of consciousness delivery, along with the dense regional vernacular of Sacramento, draws the listener into a subversively detailed world. His albums are similar to James Joyceâ€™s Ulysses in this way, and like that classic work, Untreated Trauma says more through anecdotes and aimless description than matter-of-fact advice. Itâ€™s an interesting narrative device, but this lack of urgency dulls the albumâ€™s edge, producing a batch of uniformly good but not excellent tracks.
â€œBeat The Case,â€ the EST Gee and Babyface Ray featuring mean mug marathon, is maybe the only genuine banger, although a case could be made for â€œStep Brothers,â€ in which Mozzy and Celly Ru light chemical fires atop menacing strings. The faster tracks are more successful, but the melancholy closer, â€œAgain & Againâ€ is smart, vulnerable, and admirably poignant.
Some songs do have missteps. Mozzy doesnâ€™t convey the necessary emotion to make the morose â€œMy Life Differentâ€ a success, and while Kalan.FrFr kills the hook on â€œWhole 100,â€ his verse (which Mozzy smartly pushed to the very end) is a cringefest from start to finish.
The beats announce their intent within the first five seconds, communicating to the listener whether they are in for a devastating stroll through painful memories (â€œStraight To 4thâ€, â€œMy Life Differentâ€, â€œAgain & Againâ€) or a high-octane romp around Oak Park (â€œBeat The Caseâ€, â€œReeboksâ€, â€œStep Brothersâ€). Itâ€™s a sonic mural of California, with all corners of the state represented.
What sets Untreated Trauma apart from Mozzyâ€™s slew of projects is timing and accessibility. His name has never been on the rap worldâ€™s tongue the way it is now. To capitalize on such a potent buzz, he needed a project to hook new listeners. At a lean 10 tracks, 27 minutes, Untreated Trauma is perhaps the best jumping in point Mozzy has ever provided. The opportunity appeared, and Mozzy nailed it. The mixtape debuted at No. 19 on the Billboard top 200 list.
Untreated Trauma feels intended to rewrite the notion that Mozzy is a niche rapper. He still doesnâ€™t entertain radio dreams, but the music is polished and his bars are as strong as ever. Yet, he also sounds like he is finished tinkering with the formula, and that he could uninterestedly pump out this exact album twice a year for years to come.
The result is something that is profoundly pretty good.
Mozzy, Est Gee, & Babyface Ray on â€œBeat the caseâ€ pic.twitter.com/6vZRSf3bG8
â€” MoeðŸŒ (@moeayache) September 18, 2021
Mozzy a different kind of lyricist.
â€” Trez. (@SBTrez) September 18, 2021
Mozzy doesnâ€™t know how to make a bad album fr.
â€” ð”‡ð” ð”ð”žð” ð”¥ð”¦ð”«ð”¢ ðŸ“ˆ (@MattBoutDatLife) September 17, 2021