At this point you’re probably thinking to yourself: another mixtape from an unknown artist? Where’s the back button on the browser? Well don’t judge a book by its cover or at least an MC by their lack of a wikipedia page. Emerging from the Hip Hop hotbed of Philly and representing AskForMercy music, Aaron Mingo’s The Motion Picture Ming Mixtape valiantly attempts to be cinematic and epic. On the average, most mixtapes are the musical equivalent of straight-to-video junk. The obligatory hosting and mixing duties were assumed by beat maker J.J. Brown of Louis Logic & J.J. Brown notoriety, whose speaking voice sounds strikingly similar to Logic’s. (Are they the same person? Perhaps) As for Aaron Mingo, his lack of a shallow moniker foreshadows Motion Picture’s journey into the no frills and gimmick-free zones.
Motion Picture Ming follows the basic mixtape formula of scratches, blends, a host to cosign the star, and the occasional recycled beat (e.g., Clipse’s “Funeral” on “Brimstone” and Dead Prez’s “Hip Hop” on “Back Home”). Minus these tell-tale signs of a mixtape, Ming’s project could likely pass for an album in a CD lineup. Luckily Mingo favors craftsmanship and songwriting to a quick 16 bars. The down-to-earth MC veers more towards the insightful and exhibits less of a show-and-prove mentality. That’s not to say the substance lacks style. A heavy, epic vibe permeates throughout joints such as “Septa Pension,” “China Chubakka” and “World Mercy.” Mingo competently speaks on behalf of regretful soldiers on “Remember Me,” while the subject of God pops up periodically on tracks like “What’s That Sound” and “Creflow.” The mix’s lone guest spot belongs to Sekani Williams on the “no one is safe” anthem known as “Good Man Gone.” It’s no surprise to learn that they are group-mates in The Serenghetti. “So Philly” captures the essence of his hometown but falls short of past odes to the city of brotherly love.
It’s refreshing to wrap up a mixtape review without having to ask that ever present question, “this is how they chose to spend their studio time?” The Motion Picture Ming educates listeners on the perspective of North Philly’s Aaron Mingo, sets the stage for his next career move, and maintains cohesiveness. It has been proven recently that mixtapes can be as tightly packaged as their album counterparts, whether it’s Rhymefest’s Man In the Mirror or Wale’s Mixtape About Nothing. In the end, if fans want more, than the mission is accomplished. Some artists were born to hold a mic, and while Aaron Mingo doesn’t quite captivate to that degree, he probably came out of the womb predestined to provide a voice.
– Andrew Jones