Missing-nin’s New Single “TBH”

The beat that we hear at the start of Missing-nin’s new single “TBH” indeed has an acrylic finish that one could describe as being texturally expressive, but as much as I want to get lost in the glow of the groove in this performance, I think it’s surpassed in terms of importance by the soft, melodic rapping of the song’s leading man. He’s flirting with some existential pop themes that aren’t often found in hip-hop contemporarily, and it’s resulting in what could be one of the most straightforward crossover trap works that you’re going to listen to from an indie player right now. 

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“TBH” doesn’t have much of a bass part, but instead a grizzly, dripping low-end tone that seeps in through the backend of the mix and fills the space between vocal and percussion with lush color where there would otherwise be none. Some might look at this as being a little too avant-garde for mass consumption, but these same critics likely would tell you that most of the cloud rap coming into focus at the moment lacks the aesthetical continuity to survive anywhere outside of the American underground. Adventure means leaving the popular path behind, and Missing-nin is keen on this. 

The substance of these lyrics is rooted as much in performance as it is the black and white narrative that Missing-nin is trying to establish, and I would argue that because of the compressed setting through which he’s presenting us with these words, they’re even heavier than they already would have been. The emotion is running high in this performance, even if it doesn’t initially seem this way, and it’s a credit to the abilities of this rapper that he’s able to contain and corner us with passion in such a controlled fashion without sounding overbearing in the studio. 

I wouldn’t have put quite as much polish on the bassline in the second half of “TBH” if I would have been in the producer’s chair, but I can appreciate where Missing-nin was trying to go with this component of the track. By bleaching everything beneath him, his verses sound a little more clandestine and postmodern, especially beside something like this bass part, and it’s a big element of why he’s able to utilize the contrast in this mix as much as he is. He’s not leaving any fat on the plate but instead giving us everything he can in one epic serving of sonic bliss. 

Missing-nin is a relative unknown to a lot of listeners who aren’t into the indie rap beat at the moment, but his elegant management of this slow-rolling piece of material undisputedly has the potential to convince more than a couple of critics of his eminence as a composer and performer. “TBH” is one of a slew of new songs bearing his name in the byline to be scoring headlines this November, and if he can keep the creative juices flowing as well as he has in the past year, this isn’t going to be his last collection of hit-making songs to see release around the same time. 

Michael Rand

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