Thursday, May 26, 2016

Nick B. Reviewed by Jessi Roti

Artist: Nick B.
Reviewed by Jessi Roti – @JessiTaylorRO 

Houston, Texas-based rapper Nick B. packs tough rhymes into short-and-sweet tracks that carry a heavy load. An assortment of tracks, spanning four years in his life as an MC, show not only growth in his sound, but a deeper perception of self from tracks like “Playing Games” to “Prepared.”

We get a glimpse into the world of Nick B., and it is obviously inspired by ‘90s hip-hop, balancing hard beats with more abstract electronica, including sounds from the nearly defunct video game arcade.  The smoke screen sounds permeating the records of Dr. Dre and Snoop Dogg find themselves being reworked here. “The Reasons” flows along a decidedly understated R&B melody, while “Contempt” holds itself up as a necessary replay. 
For me, Nick B.’s standout track is “Prepared.” Its insightful, “real-life” rhymes ride along a chilled-out beat similar to what Lupe Fiasco employed on Food & Liquor. Nick B. may be at his best when there’s no stuntin’ or frontin,’ as heard on tracks like “You Don’t Want It” or “Playing Games.” He’s hopeful, yet realistic. His truths hit home and ride along an undeniable groove.

Nick B.'s riotous “The Message” is among his most autobiographical to date, speaking honestly and emanating rawness without gloss.  From childhood to adulthood, we're hearing Nick B. and his experience. This is always more interesting than listening through a persona. 

Nick B. may not spit the fastest rhymes or be revolutionary with the slickest of beats, but he does know who he is. And that's a far stronger foundation than any production tricks could provide.

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