Former mainstream crossover self-releases a new record

Sinista

Here, My Dear: The Mixtape

Feva

Sinista Here, My Dear: The Mixtape Marvin Gaye’s 1978 divorce opus Here, My Dear has, over the years, become a cult favorite and high-water mark for the genre of warts-and-all breakup records. Just last year, rap’s favorite crybaby Drake scored a top-40 hit recorded in and named after Gaye’s studio, “Marvins Room,” paralleling his own tales of groupie love gone wrong with the emotional catharsis of Here, My Dear. Baltimore rapper Sinista, also known simply as Sin, pays tribute even more overtly with his latest mixtape, naming it after the Gaye album and occasionally rapping over samples from it.

Sinista promoted Here, My Dear: The Mixtape with the headline “Baltimore City Fireman Loses Career & Mind Behind Music” and a forwarded e-mail supposedly from the ex that inspired the tape, complete with angry all-caps accusations and promises of a restraining order. And the emotions on the mixtape are certainly raw enough that it’s hard to doubt the authenticity of the record’s back-story, with the lo-fi quality of many of the beats adding an appropriately unpolished edge to the songs. It’s tempting to dock Sinista points for quickly diverting from the central concept for uptempo tracks like the goofy, danceable “Wagon” and “Rollerdex” in the first half of the album, but the variety makes for a more engaging overall listen. And soon enough, he’s back on the topic of heartache.

By the end of Here, My Dear: The Mixtape, Sin has rapped every rhyme he can think of about his ugly breakup, and at one point gives up and just plays a Jill Scott song, “Hear My Call,” in its entirety for the record’s 10th track to express himself. And just when you think that perhaps Sin hasn’t poured his heart out quite like Marvin did, “aSYRIAsAcappela” closes the mixtape in an almost uncomfortably intimate fashion, with four minutes of the rapper struggling to sing with no backing track, sniffling and on the verge of outright sobbing.

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