March 20, 2014 by sshhoobbmmxxbblloogg
Nocando – Jimmy The Burnout
Hellfyre Club / Alpha Pup
Released 18th March
Much can be said about the California based MC, label jefé and alternative hip hop juggernaut they call Nocando. You can wax all day about Hellfyre Club, about being THE voice at seminal L.A happening Low End Theory. You can throw him into a melting pot of new hip hop, mesh him with GLK, FlyLo, Busdriver, Daddy Kev and anyone and everyone that’s making experiments in what has become a tired form.
If I were some buzz band loving, “all about the people pleasing, numbers watching” kind of journalist, I’d be inclined to make this a focus. But, my soul is still clinging to my 7/4 beating heart, and so I’d rather just talk about one of THE essential records of 2014.
Nocando’s sophomore full length, “Jimmy The Burnout” was released worldwide yesterday (at the time of writing), a joint release via his own Hellfyre Club imprint and Alpha Pup. The record marks a change, a move and a shift, still clutching that same anger and still using words in a way few MC’s can even fucking comprehend, let a alone utilise. Part Everyman hustler flow, part streetwise poet, omitting abstract and overly complicated vocalisations, preferring instead to speak true, with zero fear.
The skittering percussion and ominous synths lock lips with rhymes about concealed weapons and the Maury Povich show on “Little Green Monsters”‘ it’s refrain of “it is what it is” haunting you, pulling you in whilst inviting you to step away from what’s happening.
“Never Looked Better” is a club jam for people who don’t go to clubs. Cowbells dominate your peripheral senses, Nocan’s flow littering the spaces between, deftly explaining cliches are in fact, rarely wrong. A post millennial hip hop loveless compression of a man lost in love.
The piano riff sampled on “Break Even” is the first nod to previous work, the beat more beefed up, bordering on the glitch hop seen at Low End, there’s an unease to it even though this is a singalong kind of track. This is an excellent example of what Nocando is achieving with this LP, you feel part of it, whilst simultaneously being an alien looking into his imaginarium.
The warped, droning synths and post Dirty South-esque through a blender beat of “Too Much To Ask” nestled amidst another crowd pleasing chorus make this the bastard love child of Usher, Gang Starr and even Prefuse 73, a bizarre mixture that works perfectly. People may not agree with my surmise, but ultimately people will take what they want from things, and this is my review after all!
“Any Day Now” is all jazz infused sampling, lounging beat and a vocal that’s gentler, more conscious flow yet still vitally angst ridden, cleverly speaking out against things that matter, rather than the assumed new wave elements; guns, bitches and bling and the like. It’s a mutated version of a long lost ATCQ joint, mixed by a sleep deprived Taliban Kweli if such a track existed.
“Hellfyre Club Anthem” starts with a swirling, almost easy listening string lullaby before exploding into a heavyweight punch of a tirade against celebrity bullshit. This is Nocando at his lyrical best, all truth, no filler for the sake of an easy rhyme. The break pulls you back from the mouth of the torrent of rapped fury before plunging back into Nocan’s storm. This track makes you hit repeat instantly, you can’t escape it, same as those guys couldn’t escape the Driller Killer.
The album ends with the near nine minute electro hop meets G funk “Lucid Dream”. Shuffling 808 sounds jostle for position against a grunting bass and high ends that seem to glisten like broken glass, and cut just as deep. This is the perfect end to an album that is relentlessly in your head. The name is justified too, there’s a waking dream like quality to it, you almost feel cleansed by it. Yet, you KNOW you’ll be straight back to the start immediately.
All I can say is, if you IGNORE this LP….
YOU PROBABLY SHOULDN’T BE CALLING YOURSELF A FAN OF ALTERNATIVE HIP HOP. Maybe stick to hanging out at the mall posing, yeah homes?