Phil Maggio Gets Personal In Goreiginal

Sometimes listening to an album is like watching a film or reading a book. There are themes explored through different chapters and an overarching story that ties everything together. Other times listening to an album is like reading pages out of someone’s diary, becoming aware of that person’s raw and oftentimes disjointed thoughts and feelings. Phil Maggio’s recent release Goreiginal falls into the latter category. The Utah-based rapper gives listeners an unfiltered lens into his psyche, offering an introspective and sometimes dark collection of songs.

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The focal point of Goreiginal is certainly Maggio’s lyrics, which reflect a man still grappling with the issue of finding his own identity in the world. In “Two Hot” he writes, “I write my rage on a page ‘til it’s filled like a cup left out in the rain / then it spills / can’t contain it.” Later in the song, Maggio’s feelings about his own skills are shown to be inconsistent. After boasting through verses about his rapping and sexual prowess, he ends the song by berating himself and his misogynistic lyrics, even bashing his own beat. It’s either a self-reflective musing about his juvenile sex fantasies or a jab at his haters who undoubtedly challenge him when he spouts insensitive lyrics about women.

Maggio reveals another perspective of his confidence and sense of self-importance on “Humboldt Fire” where he raps, “Hearing skills of this magnitude’s about as rare as an I-like-to-share attitude / When every rapper dude seems like a hoarder / the way they’re feestylin’ in the corner with recorders.” Maggio appears not to consider himself a tortured, reclusive artist and feels that his music needs to be heard.

The sense of Goreiginal being a stream of consciousness, diary type album is perpetuated by self-deprecating tracks like “Blood’s Blue But Bleeds Burgundy.” In it, Maggio laments about his mistakes and faults that led to missed opportunities in his life. He writes, “The mere fact that kids won’t remember me is throwing salt and insult to injury / I knew fault would be involved eventually when the kid bombs like the end-all of history.” Perhaps all of Maggio’s bravado sprinkled through the album is simply his own fantasy, a perception of his artistic self that he once strove for but could not obtain.

It is clear on Goreiginal that Maggio’s intent was not to make a rap album with pop tendencies. There are no hooks on the album and the instrumental tracks come off more as moody compositional sketches. Maggio does succeed in creating a consistent auditory aesthetic throughout the album, one that is laid back and contemplative. Listeners truly get a view into Maggio’s consciousness. Everything on the album – words and music – reflects the unfiltered and sometimes unorganized moods of its creator.

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