Nicholas Collins reviews the rap stylings of the Nonsense Society’s own Nootrac.
Copyright Nootrac, All Rights Reserved.
Much like their moniker when looked at through a mirror, Nootrac’s songs, at least the small sampling which I have had the privilege to listen to, are a combination of smart humor and brilliant art. They are advertised as being completely void of trite, vulgar consumerism, and faux-gangster bravado, and this is true. Bravado of the standard variety, though, they possess in abundance. Make no mistake, Nootrac is hip hop, just remarkably good hip hop, and a common thread with the genre (at least the portion of it I’ve listened to) seems to require some amount of ego. The ego is not absent from Nootrac’s offerings, but it is well deserved, and carries with it a wit that suggests that they are not above parodying themselves as deftly as they parody the genre.
My typical complaints with hip hop, and the reason why I don’t tend to have much of it in my iTunes library, stem from my opinion that hip hop is rarely what I would consider music, and in the rare instance that it is, it is usually lazy music, frequently borrowing from other artists where necessary and outright stealing when possible. With typical hip hop lyrical standards, such as “Hey check out how rich I am,” and “I’m so rich I get the bitches,” and occasionally the emotional ballad “Where’d my money and my bitches go?”, the image that comes to my mind is that of a vulture, picking at the tattered carrion of other, better artists, perhaps while wearing some platinum and ice. Perhaps it is simply a matter of under-exposure to the genre, but when a group shines through this negative stereotyping, yet still remains stylistically true to the genre, they tend to quickly jump to be one of my most listened to artists, at least for a week or two before I go back to listen to Sufjan Stevens sadly playing the banjo. (Side note: Dude is the only guy that can make banjo sad) Nootrac might be the first group to break this mold, as I expect I’ll be rapping along to Extreme Croquet for quite awhile, much to the chagrin of my fiancé, my poor, poor fiancé.
I had mentioned earlier that I think that hip hop at it’s best is lazy music. The laziness that accompanies typical hip hop is not apparent in Nootrac. If they’re pulling samples from other locations, they’re certainly not recognizable to me. I’m sure the majority of their sampling is done digitally, but digitally does not mean lazily, or with a lack of creativity, at least in this case. The sheer level of musicality and willingness to experiment is astonishingly present in each of the tracks that I have listened to, and while they are certainly all immediately recognizable as hip hop, they’re also beautifully creative and original. They pick all the right rules to break, and all the right rules to follow, the result is a collection of tracks that are all danceable, fun, smart, creative, and most importantly listenable. Citizen K, the man responsible for the music, should be lauded for his ability to create something so bravely musical, without deviating from the format that makes hip hop so entertaining. Deserving equal mention are the lyrics by Wade Word. They are at all times witty, and at most times non sequitur, and if that’s your thing (and make no mistake, it is MY thing), you’ll enjoy every minute of every track.
The only minor complaint that I have is that while musically every song is unique, rhythmically the songs are quite similar, again, given the limited sampling that I have had the opportunity to listen to. This complaint is very minor, and does not diminish their talent in any way, but it does not seem beyond the realm of ability of such talented artists to share the same worldly level of inspiration with their beats, as they have with their lyrics and their instrumentation. Give me this in a future release, and I’ll be one happy monkey.
Copyright Nicholas Collins, All Rights Reserved.