British Yardie Culture is on full blast in “Return of the Mack.” Mark Morrison, sporting the pre-eminent 90s UK threads, which includes black turtle neck, gold chain, and dark blazer, walks through the night, shades on, looking like “The Mack”. The sound soars on dark wings because it has to, ‘brethren.’ This is one of the most iconic English Neo-Soul tracks ever made, and goes to show that if a groove is written and performed well, it does stand the test of time. Evident in the fact that a whole new generation, who may have been previously only hip to the music that they can turn-up to, ended up tuning into Netflix’s Seth Rogan Comedy Special, and in doing so, heard the always wavey Post Malone, cover Morrison’s seminal track, with poise and appropriate swag. Malone self proclaimed desire was to be the “White R.Kelly” (before mention of White Iverson), and though the vocal licks are not hard to administer, the kid did a fine job of holding his own, and more importantly, reintroducing this brand of R&B into the larger bloodstream. But back to the original – it bangs just as hard as ever, and there are several good reasons why.
Firstly, Hip Hop had already infused its DNA into Pop back in the day, but in a different way than how Hip Hop touches other genres today. The urban sound of yesterday was bombastic, with concussive drum hits set to a mid-tempo BPM, which evoked a decadent underworld lounge vibe. Very important here is that the Soul doesn’t get lost even though the beat is supreme. Morrison is allowed to harmonize romantically with his crew “that he is back” in town. The beat is steady, but there are moments where the melody can be heard riding the pervasive rhythm, allowed to celebrate a cinematic string line which can be described as transcendental, rather than horror-themed, as in the case of Trap modifications upon today’s Pop and R&B. In this, it’s no wonder that the waviest Pop, R&B, and Hip Hop artists, who are already producing works which associate cinematic symphonic samples from Anime culture, should be turned on by the sonic quality of synth stringed urban Pop of yesteryear. Trap is the new urban beat, but for seekers of more groove, look to the past for some new shit.
"Return of the Mack" is a song written and recorded by the British R&B singer Mark Morrison and features backing vocals from Angie Brown. It was released in the United Kingdom in March 1996 and topped the UK Singles Chart a month later. It reached the number-one spot on the UK Singles Chart in April 1996 and number 2 on the US Billboard Hot 100 in June 1997 for one week behind "MMMBop" by Hanson and went Platinum.