In the current era of mumble rap, NEMS album Gorilla monsoon brings bag the BOOM BAP back to hip hop. An obvious disciple of the culture, hailing from Coney Island, Brooklyn, NEMS is a New York spitter through and through. His album sounds like it should have been released in 1994 at the height of the BOOM BAP era of hip hop. I have not been this moved since I heard Action Bronson’s Saab Stories EP.
You know the mofo is bad when he releases his LP on red vinyl.
Enough talk, let’s get to the tracks and hear NEMS drop science.
- Step Aside
- Where you know me from (featuring Conway)
- Timb Boots
- Lil N*
- Who got ya
- 200 (featuring Spit Gemz)
- Heavy Metal
- Leave me alone
- No reggaeton (featuring Al-Doe and Axel Leon)
- Token of my affection
The album opens with the Step aside, which is comprised of a haunting beat that sounds like the soundtrack to a horror flick. Accompanied by a short verse this intro sets the tone for what you are about to hear throughout the album.
I am not going to review all the songs but instead highlight the tunes that really resonated.
Where you know me from featuring Conway sets it off with NEMS performing lyrical acrobatics, trading lines back and forth with Conway (one of my new favorite emcees) while repping Coney. The chanting sample interspersed on the track nicely complements the grimeyness.
You can hear how hungry NEMS is:
“There were nights I didn’t have money/
Did it on my own and you could never take that from me/
Come and try $&& I’ll put you in a coma/
They say it’s lonely at the top/
Well I’ve always been a loner/
The drums crack like Evel Knievel’s bones. A very minimalist beat with an ill wah-wah guitar and serious lyricism.
The song opens with de-tuned vocal samples that are truly fantastic. NEMS recounts his heartfelt story of struggle and challenge before he could truly become a “King.”
Who Got Ya
NEMS flips the classic Biggie beat for “Who Shot Ya” very nicely and pays tribute to Brooklyn in his own way.
NEMS’ bars melted my speakers. Not much more to say.
Leave Me Alone
This song is reminiscent of Eminem’s self-reflective songs about his childhood. This introspective song shows that NEMS is intelligent and has the ability to rap about different subjects making him a truly multi-dimensional emcee.
Token of My Affection
It sounds like NEMS has the capacity for compassion and maturity, which is often deemed as “being soft” among hip hop heads. NEMS shows that his emotional journey gave him strength and the ability to recognize the pain and make a better life from it without compromising his toughness.
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