ALBUM REVIEW: “Less Talk, More Action” by Mlue Jay - Rapper Basks in the Glory of Positive Reception


Mlue Jay should not be a name sparking newness and novelty to those ardent listeners who are privy to the ever-changing dynamics of the game we call hip-hop. In this context, the game we christened 'Zimhiphop'. We assume the name Mlue Jay must be accompanied with varying degrees of familiarity. That way, it is understandable. 

Even though his name should arguably not be something new, his second studio album Less Talk, More Action comes along with connotations of novelty. In the context of sonic genius. A great leap from his first album Donatella which was released in 2021.  

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The gifted rapper, who is domiciled in South Africa, and originates from Bulawayo in Zimbabwe, released his second studio album titled Less Talk, More Action on 24 February 2023; and the wise choice in naming the album with such a diction that is expressly self-explanatory deserves some good comments. We love the album name. 

In choosing this album name, Mlue Jay defiantly, but with an admirable confident swagger, sets himself a somewhat difficult but lucid goal—to let the music do all the talking. To let the music do all the action. 

For the witty and gritty rapper, the project transcends its mere outlook as one-of-those-zim-hip-hop albums: as one goes through the LP with keen attention, it is evidently clear that the album Less Talk, More Action becomes, in itself, the spokesperson for Mlue Jay. 

So in achieving the goal he set himself with this album, Mlue Jay affords himself the much-needed luxury of taking a reclusive role so that the music does all the talking—the music does the action. One could perhaps fault this writer for going a bit far: because Mlue, here and there, finds himself entwined in some talkative stuff on Twitter. He can come with some provocative platitudes: Bulawayo rappers vs Harare rappers. Et cetera. 

But that happens. Let us bless him with some benefit of doubt: driving attention to the new album. But some contradictions may arise in this. Well...

What we fundamentally appreciate about Mlue Jay's second album Less Talk, More Action, is how he beautifully and masterfully narrates and displays his maturity as a worthy rapper in the game—he is a force to reckon with. This appears to be the crux of the album as one delves into all the songs. 

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Less Talk, More Action by Mlue Jay.

And this is not an understatement. The album has received some noteworthy reception. We say this because the presence and longevity of Mlue in the game are strongly felt and this is not up for debate. Consider this: the category for Best Diaspora in the Zimbabwe Music Awards (ZIMA) has Mlue Jay, Nox, Dr Chaii, and Vusa Mkhaya. Big names. 

Then Vusa Mkhaya, whose footprint as an immensely talented international musician is inconstestable, tips Mlue Jay to win this award. That is huge. And so Vusa tweeted:

Mlue Jay, if I had a chance to influence this (award process). I was going to give it to you, because you have been consistent and you put in some work this last year till today

The ZIMA nomination coupled with the Vusa co-sign are evidence of positive reception. Let the rapper bask in the glory of that. The album has garnered over 200k streams across various digital streaming platforms.

The album Less Talk, More Action has some really impressive and dope features: Soko Matemai, Jeys Marabini, Lisa Mbali, Luminous, Kuda K and Indigo Saint. These people really made the project into the eclectic and well-arranged offering that it is. 

And as for the brilliance of its sonic genius, production-wise, here is a passage from the site Texx and the City worthy of sharing: 

If you strip back all the bling, all the fancy autotuned production and all of the alcohol endorsements that modern hip hop has become synonymous with, you are left with what hip hop should be. A voice, A bass line and a drum track. The most recent offering from Mlue Jay, Less Talk, More Action, is exactly that. He has found a way to bypass all the unnecessary fluff and elaborate showmanship that US hip hop has made famous. 

The production on Less Talk, More Action is almost flawless. The sparing use of autotune and vocal compression means you can hear what he is saying. The second track on the album “This That” features Soko Matemai, which showcases the crystal-clear mastering on the album. His lyrical rhythm and song composition just work. While tracks like “Uthando Lwami” and “Vinfluence” show Mlue’s versatility (sic). His seamless transitions between vernacular and English show his phenomenal range. When you look at it closely, the album has a similar flow to artists like Nasty C and Emtee.

Perhaps for us our major feature of the album is the track and video Vinfluence, an apt tribute to the legendary and inimitable lyricist from Bulawayo Cal_Vin, who was affectionately known as Mr Do It All. 

Cal played a huge role in the lives and careers of several artists from Byo, and for Mlue, this revolutionary artist holds a special place in his heart and should be properly honoured and celebrated; never forgotten. Cal made being an indie artist something that everyone aspired to be, too. Lots of pressures, but it had to be done. Mlue once collaborated with Cal on a track titled Thula. All this, never forgotten.

On Vinfluence, Mlue had this to say, for some context and insight:

The song is different from my other songs as I am more rapping in Vernac. I worked with Cal Vin on a song titled, Thula and we never got to shoot a video for it, but working on this tribute I had to make sure I shoot for it to make his name memorable.

Vinfluence is influenced by Cal Vin and Cal Vin used to do beats all by himself. He would record, mix and master himself and that also influenced me to write and produce this song. I recorded and made the beat by myself at YeahWeLit Entertainment studio in Johannesburg. I then worked with Crown Prince on the visuals and I did the editing myself.

This is the story of Mlue Jay's second studio album. It is, on the overall, a refreshing and worthy listening experience.

Notable tracks on the album include This That ft Soko Matemai, Bad ft Indigo Saint, No Cap, Out Tha Hood ft Kuda K, and Vinfluence. But that's just us.

  • Album Rating - 7.9 
You can listen to the album Less Talk, More Action by Mlue Jay via these links:

Watch Vinfluence below:

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