Just a Matter of Slime is something of a placeholder, but one which indicates YNW Melly has every intention and credibility to push past his present hobbled moment.
Imprisoned for over two years at this point, East Florida croon rapper YNW Melly has managed to keep up a steady release of quality projects, seemingly rationing out a rather large archive of pre-arrest material over two mixtapes and Melly vs. Melvin, his 2019 studio album debut. Working around the brutal constraints of his incarceration as he awaits sentencing, Melly has landed some hits and built a fanbase in short order, parlaying his viral (semi-controversial) hit “Murder on My Mind” and much-memed mugshot into a Kanye collab (“Mixed Personalities”) and rather high profile releases for mixtape We All Shine and the aformentioned Melly vs. Melvin (which managed to clear a sample of Michael Jackson’s “Human Nature”).
Staying on course, superficially at least, Melly has returned this year with his most star-studded album yet, Just a Matter of Slime. Also his most compact project, coming in at a still-healthy 43 minutes, Slime isn’t necessarily out of sync with the Melly discography thus far, though, as implied by the title, it scans as something of a placeholder. Its release was delayed over a month to accommodate the addition of two more songs to pad out the initial ten-song tracklist (one of which is a remix of the 2018 single “Freddy Krueger” that adds on a new Future feature), Slime feels loose and low stakes, a series of strong singles grouped together to remind audiences of Melly’s range of skills and aesthetic preferences. Album opener “Mind of Melvin” may be the lone exception, an (inappropriately timed) Lil Uzi Vert collab steeped in Melly mythos (detailing the anime-esque origins of Melvin and Melly’s first encounter) that has the rappers finding common ground over their reputation for bouts of personality-altering psychosis. A provocative narrative track, “Mind of Melvin” implies a bigger, cohesive vision that never quite manifests, though the songs that follow offer some prime Melly moments, like the warbly sincerity of “Pieces” R&B refrain and a first-time collab with Young Thug on “Caprisun Fun,” a pairing so natural that it creeps close to autopilot (but not quite!). This might be the simplest way of characterizing Just a Matter of Slime, which confidently reintroduces us to YNW Melly, but doesn’t aim for much more. Of course, much of this is beyond Melly’s control as an incarcerated person, his career’s momentum inevitably hobbled, but optimistically, Just a Matter of Slime indicates he has every intention of pushing past this moment and can credibly do so.
Published as part of Album Roundup — August 2021 | Part 3.