South London’s Benjamin A.D has unveiled the second in a series of monthly singles, “Mandatory Mantra”. The latest single follows “Come My Way” and “Monster’s Ball.
The alternative hip-hop track opens with echoes of discordant piano and distorted percussion with a muffled quality that contrasts with the clarity of Benjamin’s rhymes. Each verse is laced with a little piece of his soul, woven into the tight production and poignant lyrics. The first stanza tackles his break from releasing music, which Benjamin explains is ”solely from my point of view…not wanting to quit or accept defeat, taking stock of what I have that is positive…getting rid of those demons making me blame myself for mistakes I have previously made.” The track then moves on to struggles with money and “how it can bring out the worst in people”, before taking on a deeper Noir vibe, with melancholy trumpet melodies surrounded by powerfully layered percussion. It also explores a disillusion with work whilst tackling the expectation of consistent musical releases that Benjamin describes as being like “some sort of a vending machine rather than a human that is affected by life too.” Alluding to the way that city-living can lead to a disconnection with natural beauty, the hook further references our preoccupation with work and how it can render us blind to the splendor of the outside world.