Over the past decade, one of the trailblazers of the underground London pop scene has slowly been carving a name for himself, his ridiculously slick talents audible on tracks by the likes of Amine, Biig Piig and Lava La Rue – the latter pair founding members of the acclaimed NiNE8 Collective. Lloyd MacDonald, more commonly known to you and me as Mac Wetha, has consistently refused to be boxed in, ignoring trend cycles and being quintessentially himself since the very beginning. From his roots as a founding member of NiNE8 to his signing with seemingly the indie label right now Dirty Hit, Wetha has constantly subverted expectations with his music. Whether it be pop punk infused cuts or heavy boom bap beats, Wetha is a jack of all trades – and a master of all. Now, after nearly four years, he has delivered ‘Mac Wetha + Friends 2’, the sequel to his influential 2019 mixtape.
Opener ‘Play Pretend’, featuring LA-based alt pop superstar spill tab, was the lead single off of the project, a woozy yet danceable slice of signature Mac Wetha sounds. Combining hard, dancefloor drums with emo-tinted guitars and raucous energy, the conclusion is often a bewildering but brilliant one. On this record, the lack of genre is never once a burden; often you see confusion, lack of direction. In this case, every dip into new styles and sounds feels like pure creation and exploration, once again pushing the undeniable authenticity of Wetha. ‘Massive Chain’ leans into more glitch-hop sensibilities, guest Bawo’s vocal timbre lavish and deep, his flow effortless over Wetha’s hazy, off-kilter drum rhythms. Then ‘WILL I EVER LEARN?!’ with Finn Foxell pushes an almost chilled-out BROCKHAMPTON aesthetic, with pitched vocals and more distinctively trap elements. The interludes on this project are fun, unserious, playing back into the nineties, early 00s era of homemade mixtapes, creating an almost mock-radio show. A fitting concept for a project made with friends, it creates a carefree, upbeat aura.
Mac Wetha has quickly carved his own sound, a difficult feat for any artist – let alone someone arguably still quite fresh into their career. His sound choices are distinctive, textures rich, hooks aplenty. In a world dominated by mish-mash features, it’s refreshing to hear genuine curation, and this instance friendship, blossom from every track on this project. The undeniable authenticity on ‘Mac Wetha + Friends 2’ is solidifying him as one of the most exciting artists and producers making his way through the alt-pop sphere right now.
Words: James Mellen