Magna Carda

Cirqlation

Texas Platters

Greatness lies within the grasp of Austin outfit Magna Carda. 2014's Like It Is covered the Rootsian, full live band aspect of hip-hop, production by Dougie Do leaning toward sounds that wouldn't be completely unfamiliar to the jazzy, soulful legacy of the Native Tongues/Soulquarians collectives (Common, Talib Kweli, Mos Def, and Q-Tip). That provided a synced springboard for remarkable MC work from Megz Kelli, who's equally honeycomb sweet and pit viper nasty, third full-length Cirqlation representing a quantum leap forward. Featuring Gianni Bianchini, "The Cycle," sets the scene: a downpour, faint gunfire, police sirens, and a man running. Atop a jazz trio, Kelli asks, "Does that make you feel free?" Equally disorienting, "Southern Ether" seesaws between Southern blues rock and Outkast's ATLien trap, the front femcee asserting her dominance: "Unapologetic with message, I'm your thought-slinger/ Pusherwoman, Queen Tut-kill-'em, so get your offspring up." There are latent radio-ready jams, like Kelli "shooting her shot" at a potential romantic interest on the Jonny Huggins-assisted "Impressions." Bouncy lead single "Angela Bassett" rings a low-key, passive-aggressive battle rap: "Sitting at the top like a toupee/ Who say little miss couldn't be the objet trouvé?" Minimalist "Ykwtii" (You Know What Time It Is) filters a golden era hip-hop bop through stand-up bass and snap. Kelli brag-raps: "I'm '92 wearing my 1995s/ I don't see competition, like I need eyes/ They say, 'You too small to be so vicious'/ I be like, 'Bitch, you think I don't know I need size.'" She comes full circle on the title track, the whole of Cirqlation a concise and mature affair clocking in at under 40 minutes. Recalling Digable Planets and Nineties Organized Noize productions – fused and thrust forward – Magna Carda's pathway to stardom is quickly going from concrete to gold.

****

The 2021-2022 Austin Music Awards Music Poll is underway. Vote now for your favorite bands, venues, and music until January 31.

A note to readers: Bold and uncensored, The Austin Chronicle has been Austin’s independent news source for almost 40 years, expressing the community’s political and environmental concerns and supporting its active cultural scene. Now more than ever, we need your support to continue supplying Austin with independent, free press. If real news is important to you, please consider making a donation of $5, $10 or whatever you can afford, to help keep our journalism on stands.

Support the Chronicle  

READ MORE
More Magna Carda
Texas Platters
Magna Carda
Ladee (Record Review)

Derek Udensi, March 22, 2019

Summer Jams Clearance Sale
Magna Carda
Somewhere Between (Record Review)

Kahron Spearman, Aug. 11, 2017

More Music Reviews
Texas Platters
Ben Buck
Kilroy (Record Review)

Derek Udensi, Feb. 21, 2020

Fall Platters
Quin NFN
4NUN (Record Review)

Derek Udensi, Nov. 29, 2019

More by Kahron Spearman
How Did Legendary DJ and Londoner Paul Oakenfold Land in Bastrop?
How Did Legendary DJ and Londoner Paul Oakenfold Land in Bastrop?
The Londoner finds his way to a Texas ranch

July 30, 2021

New Austin Music Worth Your Bandwidth This Week
New Austin Music Worth Your Bandwidth This Week
What we’re listening to

June 18, 2021

KEYWORDS FOR THIS STORY

Magna Carda

MORE IN THE ARCHIVES
NEWSLETTERS
One click gets you all the newsletters listed below

Breaking news, arts coverage, and daily events

Can't keep up with happenings around town? We can help.

Austin's queerest news and events

Eric Goodman's Austin FC column, other soccer news

Behind the scenes at The Austin Chronicle

Information is power. Support the free press, so we can support Austin.   Support the Chronicle