20-year-old Charlotte rapper MAVI offers a jarring alternative to the escapism so prevalent in popular music today. His recent 13-song project Let The Sun Talk is stacked with deep thoughts and dense raps, and his music isn't made for avoiding reality. "The goal has always been to bring freedom to culture through knowledge and understanding," MAVI says, "propagating at the speed of light to trace the shadow of the future."

MAVI's project is a standout from 2019, but he's not alone in the approach he's taking. "One of the most exciting things about hip-hop right now is the deep sense of community among certain like-minded artists," wrote Ross Scarano earlier this month. "Earl, MAVI and MIKE are but three rappers who share similar thematic concerns, who are driving for a new kind of unvarnished honesty about inner turmoil, while also searching for the pockets of hope you find in friends and family and art."

It's understandable why so much music is crafted to help listeners escape; the world in 2019 is absolutely insane. But we're thankful that artists like MAVI are striving to provoke thought—it's an important reminder of the impact music can have and a crucial reality check.

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