Andy Mineo & Wordsplayed, Magic & Bird | Album Review
Christian rappers Andy Mineo and Wordsplayed deliver an enjoyable, collaborative mixtape on Magic & Bird.
Some think that it’s not possible, but it is. What exactly isn’t possible according to the skeptics? Recording a rap album sans sex, drugs, and profanity. Christian rappers Andy Mineo and Wordsplayed successfully create an enjoyable rap album (mixtape) that eschews the aforementioned. Furthermore, they sacrifice nothing where flow, rhymes, or production work is concerned. All in all, Magic & Bird is intriguing.
“Dunk Contest (Magic Bird)”
On the intro, “Hi-Five (Loading),” Andy Mineo kicks off things with basketball. After referencing Magic and Bird, he takes on the character of Coach Girthman. His message to the kids is about teamwork and hard work. The most meaningful words he states arrive at the end of the skit.
“Life is a high contact sport / And if you’re not prepared / It will knock you on your keister.”
Wordsplay makes his first appearance kicking off “Kidz,” the first full-length song from Magic & Bird. Naturally, there are plenty of basketball references, but he also incorporates football and movies. Mineo joins him on the catchy hook, before taking the reins on the second verse. Spitting and living on the straight and narrow, he has “One girl, no sidepiece / I call that fine by me.” Both MCs do well for the kids, with good vibes, no cussing, and tight rhymes.
“Yeah, this that, this that, this that Penny with the Shaq / Yeah, if he’s passin’ me the rock, they might not get it back.” “Kidz” is good, but “Dunk Contest (Magic Bird)” is da bomb. The crème de la crème, the production is superb, both rappers drop strong rhymes, and the hook is infectious.
“I just threw it off the backboard / Game winner, I’m the one they ask for / Magic Bird, Magic Bird, Magic Bird…”
“Say Less” is produced by Gawvi, another part of the Reach fold. Mineo takes the reins first, with Wordsplayed arriving on the second verse. Early on, the theme and messaging are unveiled on the chorus.
“Yeah okay, I get it man, say less / When’d you start talking and prayin’ less? / I’m not doing good, I’m a straight mess / but God doing way more with way less.”
Essentially, it’s better to pray, listen to, and wait on God.
After the “Disqus (Skit),” the duo decides to “R.U.T.S.” – run up the score. According to Mineo, “I got one job, make the flow silly / Serve one god, it’s my sole mission.” Throughout his verse, he spits about his come-up and his clean, Christian image, yet, he still assembles clever rhymes that embrace pop culture. Wordsplayed drops more basketball into his verse, but also speaks about his come-up, and gives God the glory.
“The first, the last, I got the moves like Jag / I’m cursed with swag, ain’t nothin’ worse than that.” “Judo” featuring Judo is based upon the sport judo, confirmed by the chorus. Judo himself performs the intro and an interlude.
Beam performs the pre-chorus and choruses on “Break Bread.” Breaking bread is a religious reference to gathering together on one accord, like a church congregation for example. In the context of “Break Bread,” Andy Mineo and Wordsplayed discuss building their rap careers the right way and the importance of family and friends.
Following “Metro (Skit),” Mineo and Wordsplayed show off their “Dance (You See It).” Wordsplay dances at the top of the first verse:
“Lot of rappers overrated / Homie, that’s an understatement / I grew up on that Tigger in Tha Basement / You could say I made it, me and Andy goin’ Kane and Undertaker.”
Andy Mineo also drops bars, most notably near the end of the second verse.
“You all the same, I Charlemagne the talkin’ / And I walk inside my lane / I came, I saw, I conquered.”
Expectedly, the hook is catchy.
On “Team,” Beam arrives for his second appearance, incorporating a Jamaican dialect. While this is often a polarizing choice, in the context of “Beam,” it is a nice contrast, particularly with Andy Mineo rapping ferociously on the second verse. Wordsplayed, who takes the third and final verse, contrasts both, keeping things interesting.
The final two songs from Magic and Bird rank among the very best. “Legend” is the longest joint, but worth the time. Essentially, this record defines what makes a legend. From the Mineo perspective, it’s morality, character, and substance.
“My conversations are deep / Read the fine print / I’ma make it happen, ain’t waitin’ any longer / No time to rest when you tryna be a legend.”
“Lay Up,” a bonus track, arguably has the biggest crossover appeal. The lay ups here aren’t “buckets,” even though its used metaphorically. This is about surefire things in life. Mineo uses his wife as an example on the first verse as a layup.
“‘She fly, love God, and she’s got a good mind / Oh boy, that’s a layup!’”
Wordsplay drops hot rhymes as well, with his swimming, He Got Game lines shining.
“Colored folks still can’t swim / But Mike Phelps couldn’t walk the water / Pastor said that we need Jesus / Big State was his alma mater.”
All in all, Magic & Bird is an enjoyable collaborative mixtape between Andy Mineo and Wordsplayed. Mineo and Wordsplayed execute the concept to an extent, but don’t overplay their hand by any means. Both MCs drop clever rhymes, and the production – the trap beats – are superb. Can a rap album be successful sans sex, drugs, and profanity? Definitely. Magic & Bird proves it.
Gems: “Kidz,” “Dunk Contest (Magic Bird),” “Say Less,” “Legend” & “Lay Up”