By James Pemberton
Hailing from Eagle Mountain, Utah, MASN is a young hip hop star breaking into the mainstream. Born Mason Rupper, this native Utahn found a talent for creating music in high school. After breaking his collarbone, effectively ending a future career in football, Rupper decided to focus on music by making beats and putting his own flavor to the hip/hop genre commonly referred to as emo rap. Shortly after finding viral success in 2020, he was able to land a record deal with RCA Records under which he released his freshman EP, How To Kill A Rockstar.
After my first listen through of MASN’s EP, my intial thought was how friggin’ cool it was to hear the similarities between this young Utah artist and industry greats like Post Malone and blackbear. This type of hip-hop has really blasted into popularity and opened up the genre to new possibilities. How To Kill A Rockstar is a nice addition to this new standard of music. I enjoyed the vulnerability of the lyrics, the almost bedtime-beats vibe of the instrumentals behind them, and the killer hooks. This record reminds me of an episode of Euphoria and the honest to goodness hard times that only teenagers can understand.
Easily my favorite track on this EP is “Psycho! (Remix).” I feel like you know you’re going somewhere when you get a feature from Trippie Redd on your very first EP. It’s no wonder that this song was one of the hits that got MASN recognized.
Next up on the favorites journey has got to be “Hold Me (feat. Mishaal).” After listening to this song, there can be no doubt in anyone’s mind that the man can sing. The melody of this song is catchy, cathartic, and his performance on it is absolutely captivating.
While MASN has a proclivity for these chill beats, the fact that they are found throughout the entire album gives way to a bit of boredom if one is just casually listening. Like most, if not all other first EP’s, MASN struggles here with understanding where his artistry fits in the vast ether of musical genres. I feel like the thought behind this record was, “I’m good at beats, I guess that means I’m supposed to rap.” MASN shines when he leans in to the more pop-oriented melodies that he is obviously so good at. A shift to more of the pop side of hip-hop seems to be a better avenue for his talents. (Spoiler alert: his more recent singles fall into this vibe and are FIRE!)
All in all, I sincerely enjoyed listening to How To Kill A Rockstar. The diversity that it brings to the heavily saturated indie-pop-rock market that is the Utah Valley music industry is h*ckin’ refreshing. We need more MASNs around here, and the work he’s done to put Utah on the map for future hip-hop artists is major. I look forward to seeing more from him down the road.
Make sure to follow MASN on Instagram and check out “Psycho! (Remix) (feat. Trippie Redd)” below!