TMFSE, or The Man From Somewhere Else, is an emcee from New Jersey. Although he’s been around for over a decade, outside of his 2014 album with Aoi, Franklin Gothic Green, he’s mostly been an artist that pops up here and there to make an appearance before going back underground. As a result, not as many people know about him as an artist. That changes in 2023, though, because he’s now teamed up with producer Shape and The Karma Kids to put out a deeply personal album, Naked Brunch.

Shape is a producer also from New Jersey, and over the years he’s worked with everyone from Tame One, billy woods, and Mr. Len, just to name a few. For this particular project, you can throw all of your expectations based on his resume out the window, though, because he’s sculpting a very specific soundscape for a very introspective project with TMSFE. It’s sparse, dark, psychedelic, lo-fi, and crawls along at a very deliberate pace, much more concerned with creating an atmosphere for TMSFE than any sort of devotion to hooks, melody, or the such. From the very beginning, you know that this isn’t some sort of party rocking pop album. No, this is art as therapy, and Shape knows that this project requires some of his most subtle, thoughtful production to date. This in turn lets TMSFE step up to the mic and get extremely personal with his lyricism. Recording his vocals crudely from a rehab facility, TMSFE goes deep over the course of nine tracks, spelling out issues of addiction and abuse within his family, confronting his darkest fears, and pushing himself toward healing and reclaiming his own narrative moving forward. It’s not the easiest album to listen to as a result, but it is a necessary and painfully beautiful one. Sometimes you have to take a moment and realize that you can’t outrun this shit, you have to confront it, and TMSFE stepped up to the plate and confronted a lot of ugly parts of his life to make this album.

Naked Brunch is a tough listen, but sometimes you need to get into the weeds of the darker parts of life and face it head on. This couldn’t have been an easy album for TMSFE to make, but as a result, we all know him so much better and have a much deeper connection to him as an artist. Shape is right there with him, helping this album come to fruition with some abstract, emotional production that matches TMFSE’s poetry perfectly.