The music world is having a bit of a fun moment right now.
Decades ago, producer/instrumentalist types, like the legendary Rick Rubin, would slink behind the scenes, building their profile not by way of song credits, but through purist and superfan word of mouth, eventually their profile and reputation would build.
In 2017, though, in the age of DJ Khaled, Mark Ronson, Jamie XX, and perhaps most notably, of late, Calvin Harris, the producer is getting that headlining credit. Consider for a moment Harris’s two recent hits, “Slide” and “Heatstroke.” Both are inarguably his songs, the longtime hitmaker serving as a maestro for Frank Ocean and Migos on the former, and the trio of Ariana Grande, Pharell, and Young Thug on the latter. It’s not exactly a new development, but it’s a very welcomed turn for an artist who’s previously worked with pop artists (Rihanna on “We Found Love,” “Sweet Nothing” with Florence Welch for just a couple examples) to the tune of great success.
Following in that mold is Alex Crossan, better known as Mura Masa, a 21-year-old producer, songwriter, and multi-instrumentalist making his way over from the United Kingdom. Mura Masa’s put out a couple of singles recently of his own, and they both are following that ‘Calvin Harris’ mold: “Lovesick” with A$AP Rocky, and “1Night” with Charli XCX both do exactly what a pop star’s collaboration with a tremendous producer should do, make the best out of the abilities of both. They’re working together for a reason, after all.
Mura Masa may be only barely allowed to order a beer here in the States, but he’s been at it for now three years, as his initial EP came out back in 2015. Last year, he worked on a pretty spectacular cover of Drake’s “Controlla” for BBC Radio Live Lounge. Again, it’s something that in the past may have fallen through the cracks, but in today’s landscape, he’s the headliner.
Mura Masa’s show is coming to New York, as he’s scheduled for a show tonight in TriBeCa, opening up the inaugural Tribeca Games Festival, with a show at 9:00 at the Tribeca Festival Hub at Spring Studios. His live shows are fun and essentially a dance party; he recently put on an absolute banger of a set at Coachella, where he was joined by not one, not two, but three of his star collaborators: Charli XCX, A$AP Rocky, and Desiigner all showed up. The fact that all are working—and performing—together makes things absolutely clear: they’re not in it just for a hit, they geniunely like working together, and are making some great music along the way. And if a hit just happens to come along? Well, that’ll be one nice bonus for sure.
And guess what? These songs are runaway hits already. “Lovesick” has over 24 million views on YouTube. “1Night,” more recently released, is already well over 4 million views. Mura Masa’s debut album was recently announced for a release this July, and nearly each of the record’s 13 tracks will have notable team ups, whether it’s the aformentioned XCX, A$AP, or Desiigner, or Gorillaz/Blur frontman Damon Albarn.
Tickets for Mura Masa’s show opening the Tribeca Games Festival are available here: