Remember when rappers took the hottest beats of the day, rhymed over them, and sold them as mixtapes? Well, the new album by Nems goes one better: It bites riffs and beats from the best of all time, twists them up so you don’t recognize them at first, and uses them to move in entirely different directions.
Timb Boots pays tribute to The Gap Band with the opening refrain: “Oops upside your head/Timb Boots to the side of your dreds…” and then pays tribute to the Everly Brothers singing, “Wake up, little uzi, wake up…” in the reggae-tinged fadeout. He calls out Mary J. and Grand Puba on Gahbage. Who Got Ya plays off Biggie’s Who Shot Ya? This entire album is a love letter to the rich history of New York rap music–kind of like how The Game is always representing all his L.A. colleagues.
The Coney Island rapper blows away his competition. This is an early entry for one of the best albums of the year.