Steeped in anachronistic tendencies but not afraid of evolution, San Francisco’s DaVinci has quietly been one of the most promising underground MCs to emerge from the West Coast in the past few years. 2010’s debut full-length The Day the Turf Stood Still brought the MC deserved blog-buzz, but last year’s excellent Feast or Famine EP offered undeniable evidence of Vinci’s potency and expanded his reach. With his sophomore LP, The MOEna Lisa, Vinci combs his already-established abilities with a better sense of hooks and songcraft to produce a set of his most memorable tracks yet.
While never a particularly quotable lyricist, Vinci always maintains a bar-for-bar consistency that keeps his tracks from ever falling off much. This becomes a particular virtue on MOEna, which spans 15 tracks (none of which are skits or interludes) and over 50 minutes. At turns hubristic (“Fuck Everybody But Me”), hungry (“Nothin Finna Stop Me”), and sometimes both (“Cold Piece of Work”), Vinci proves himself as dynamic as ever here, adding character to his previously understated, relatively static flow while preserving that aforementioned consistency.
Finding a middle ground between RZA-style low-end-heavy murk and the sample-based stoner-bap of Cali producers like Exile and People Under the Stairs’ Thes One, MOEna’s beats are satisfying but also safe; these sounds have been recycled so often that they can only be so affecting in 2012. Nevertheless, the album captures Vinci’s strengths as well as anything he’s done before, and in doing so sells him as something of an underdog who shouldn’t be ignored.
Essential Tracks: “Cold Piece of Work”, “Paper Power Pussy”, and “Fuck Everybody But Me”