Showing posts with label uncommon nasa. Show all posts
Showing posts with label uncommon nasa. Show all posts

Monday, November 4, 2019

video review: 'city as school' by uncommon nasa & kount fif

Honestly, not a great project, but I still feel that I was expecting something different out of this and couldn't quite square away what we got. Eh, it happens.

Anyway, Earl is up next, along with (sigh) Billboard BREAKDOWN - stay tuned!

album review: 'city as school' by uncommon nasa & kount fif

So I've advertised this a bit on Twitter, but here we go: a full week ahead where my primary focus is underground hip-hop, and I'm excited for it - I've got a lot in my backlog, both in recent releases and acts who have waited too long, let's get into it!

And let's start with one of the projects for whom I actually haven't seen a ton of buzz: a new album from New York veteran Uncommon Nasa who built his career as an engineer within Def Jux in the 2000s, but who you might be more familiar with cutting a swathe through the underground this decade as both producer and rapper with a set of tangled, dense, but highly rewarding albums. He came onto many folks' radar with New York Telephone in 2014, but won me over convincingly with Halfway in 2015 and Written At Night in 2017, two of the best albums of their respective years, along with a pretty solid project in 2016 with Short Fuze called Autonomy Music that I'd argue holds up pretty damn well to this day. But you'd be forgiven for thinking that he's seemed a little quiet the past few years... and there's where I'd argue you might be misinformed, because not only did he release a collection of short stories and poetry in 2018, he also produced a pretty hard left-field project with Last Sons this year called Chekhov's Gun, which I also reviewed and it also kicked a lot of ass! But I knew it would only be a matter of time before Nasa got behind the mic again for another project, so on Halloween last week he released a project produced by Kount Fif and featured many of his regular collaborators, including Short Fuze, Guilty Simpson, Last Sons, and more. Seemed to be a pretty agreeable release for the underground, even if it seemed like the buzz was rather muted... but screw it, I wanted to cover it, so what did we get from City As School?

Saturday, March 23, 2019

video review: 'chekhov's gun' by last sons

Yeah, I've been talking about this one all damn week, really happy it turned out as well as it did!

Next up... hmm, I'm thinking something a little brighter (so to speak) than this... stay tuned!

album review: 'chekhov's gun' by last sons

Let's talk about cosigns.

Because especially in recent years and with a shortened hype cycle, I'm always a little bit wary who an artist will support, either explicitly or implicitly... and I'll freely admit I do judge some acts by the people who sponsor them or they choose to sponsor - and in today's day and age, it seems like the list of disappointments keeps piling up. Yeah, in an attention economy, one's word tends to matter more than some think.

But in the case of an artist who moves with integrity, I'm inclined to give them a bit more space and benefit of the doubt, so let's talk again about Uncommon Nasa, a New York underground hip-hop artist who has made my year-end lists multiple times and has delivered some phenomenal records both as a writer and producer. So when he approached me about a project he entirely produced for a new group called Last Sons, featuring UK rapper Duke01 and DJ Furious P, I was intrigued, especially considering how his production style has evolved and thus far he has not put his name or word behind a bad artist - and when you count how many guests he had on 2017's Written At Night, that says a lot. And I reference that project because that's where I got my first taste of these guys on the song 'Small Change', which was a great song and I had to hope they'd deliver here, so what did we get on Chekhov's Gun?

Sunday, August 13, 2017

video review: 'written at night' by uncommon nasa

Yeah, this record has really stuck with me thus far - in a year where I haven't been all that impressed by a lot of hip-hop, this one is worth your time, trust me on that.

But now on to the event that so many have wanted to see... well, stay tuned!

Friday, August 11, 2017

album review: 'written at night' by uncommon nasa

So I haven't exactly been quiet in saying that I haven't heard a lot of hip-hop in 2017 that I'm absolutely crazy about - hell, if you saw my midyear review, you'd know that the highest rap record on that list was technically dropped late in 2016 but because the physical release came out in 2017 I'm counting it there anyway so it'll at least be eligible for year-end lists in my books.

But maybe I'm missing part of the picture - because of the way my Patreon schedule is set up, I can only get to so much, and maybe truly great records aren't being requested just yet, or I just haven't had a chance to hear them. And from what Uncommon Nasa has mentioned on Twitter to me, that might be very much the case - and the funny thing is that he's modest enough not to include his own record in that accounting! But make no mistake, I was excited for this one - a veteran New York MC and producer who has been behind more critically acclaimed records than you might remember, he landed an entry on my top 25 albums of 2015 with Halfway and for damn good reason too. His production might be challenging, his rapping style might be thorny and dense, but once you were able to decode his more abstract concepts you were left with a highly rewarding and cerebral rap record. And while I didn't quite love his collaboration with Short Fuze Autonomy Music in the same way, I was definitely excited about Written At Night. Entirely self-produced with guest verses from Oh No, Open Mike Eagle, Billy Woods, Quelle Chris and more, this was one of my most anticipated hip-hop records of 2017, easily - so what did I untangle here?

Tuesday, July 26, 2016

video review: 'autonomy music' by short fuze & uncommon nasa

Well, this was pretty damn awesome too. Definitely dig into this, it deserves a lot of attention.

Next up... hmm, not quite sure yet, we'll see. I'm curious about that Dreezy album, to be honest, but I should probably talk about Relient K too, so stay tuned!

Monday, July 25, 2016

album review: 'autonomy music' by short fuze & uncommon nasa

Let's talk a bit about cosigns.

Because as a critic, I'm always pretty wary of them. You get plenty of artists who will pitch themselves as being 'like' a specific act, or being loosely affiliated with them, or using that one guest verse that was super tight to build a bridge of association that they'd never be able to hold again under tighter scrutiny. I tend to be a fair bit more forgiving when the act that I like outright endorses them, but again, I've always got a bit of skepticism. Sure, maybe this producer I really like helped cowrite or add verses to a project and he believes in its artistic intentions... or he's trying to give a friend a leg-up or use his status to elevate someone not ready for primetime.

And yet my skepticism was sorely tested when Uncommon Nasa reached out to me about this project. Given how much I absolutely loved his last album Halfway last year, I was pretty damn optimistic when he said that he contributed both verses and all the production to Chicago MC Short Fuze, who worked with Nasa back in 2010 for his debut Lobotomy Music and who showed up for a pretty good guest verse on Halfway. And from what I know of Nasa, he isn't about to cosign or work with artists he wouldn't fully support, so I had some faith that this project could really hit home, especially as it was just under thirty five minutes, the sort of ruthlessly tight project that left no room for error. So I made sure to dig into Autonomy Music - did it stick the landing and meet expectations?

Friday, October 16, 2015

video review: 'halfway' by uncommon nasa

And that was two in one night. Okay, I might need a day off - mostly because these albums from The Game might take a bit of time to clean through. Over two hours... well, we'll see. Stay tuned!

Thursday, October 15, 2015

album review: 'halfway' by uncommon nasa

Goddamn it, how does this keep happening? It seems like when it comes to rappers who dropped great albums in the late summer, early autumn of 2014, I'm just late to the party here!

Now to be at least a little fair here, I get the feeling the majority of people were late to the party with Uncommon Nasa. New York MC, a member of The Presence in the late 90s, affiliated with Def Jux and El-P throughout the early 2000s, he founded Uncommon Records and has steadily been cranking out experimental, rough-edged hip-hop albums, either under his name or the alias Adam Warlock. And if you go digging through his featuring credits across the past fifteen or so years, you'll see enough cosigns to respect his credentials as a thoughtful, articulate MC, but what impressed me a lot more was the production. I was reminded a little of Ratking in terms of the unmistakable New York focus, and dense, clattering textures, but Uncommon Nasa was more conceptual in his writing, not quite as blunt and immediate but just as skilled in creating a starkly vivid, gritty picture. It wasn't always easy material to approach - his flows could run a little off-kilter and sometimes the mix could get a little cacophonous for its own good, but with Land of the Way It Is and especially his critically well-received and fascinating 2014 record New York Telephone, he definitely stood as a veteran that it'd be worth keeping an eye on.

As such, when he approached me directly to cover his 2015 album Halfway, I was all the more interested - how did it turn out?