Inspired by the greats from across the genre’s history, also impressively bringing together a plethora of talent from his own friend circle, mikem nahmir’s EP AMERIKKKA!!! effectively pierces through the current hip hop landscape with depth, style, honesty and intention.
The style is unique, feeling alternative and more indicative of a sub-culture influence than anything purely mainstream. This is the industrial soundscapes, the vocal clarity, the cutting lyrics and clever rhymes. The opening track is all of this and kicks things off with an attention-grabbing, relentless delivery that quickly draws you in.
Moving forwards, things take a turn towards a smoother, jazz-kissed aura – making the most out of contrast. Here we get detailed storytelling, reflections on life and motivational ideas tinged with painful realities. The mellow groove is short-lived – enter sirens, chaos and grit, vocal passion and fierce integrity. Already things are growing more engaging, eclectic yet well-suited to the changing moods and stories of the completed playlist.
In short, mikem nahmir has crafted a classic, timeless alternative hip hop EP, with beats that are as creative as many of the bars, and bars that beg for you to replay them just to catch every intricacy and concept. A single listen is far from enough, and this is true of the entire fifteen-minute project. It hits with impact, and leaves an uncomfortable silence lingering in the room when it ends.
Throw in a few retro samples, the vintage crackle of yesteryear’s media and music – jazz, TV, a simpler time – and versatility shines all the more brightly. Then at six minutes, we move into a more intense section – a free-flowing vocal, less rhythmically confined, more spoken-word-like and incredibly captivating as it pours through amidst a decidedly simple, reverb-kissed soundscape.
The stories presented throughout AMERIKKKA!!! are aptly poignant – as topical as expected but also loaded with enough personal insight and intimacy to connect on a deeply human level. Nothing fancy or flashy is needed, musically – the bars and the scorn and pain in the vocals make certain to say what needs to be said, and that simplicity elsewhere only helps make the message louder.
A touch of Marshall Mathers recaptures any wandering minds, right before things delve back into the contemporary scene; this world of ours as it stands.
For those who know, the original releases from alternative hip hop acts from the time of Earl and Tyler, also poured through the speakers with this kind of passionate yet carefree, unconcerned air of intensity and character. Not inclined to simply cater to the masses, but following a more natural creative pathway, speaking the truth and allowing the production and performance processes to go wherever the moment requires.
It’s this freedom and angst combined that helps make AMERIKKKA!!! such a striking and impossible to ignore new project. Featuring more than enough juxtaposition between weight and lightness, chaos and calm, the EP offers threads of soul, realness, even love, amidst plenty that speak on struggle, uncertainty and inequality.
The EP gets better and better as it moves along, the latter half feeling all the more powerful and accessible, compelling in its lyricism and gentler musical backdrops. It feels important, intelligent, and is performed with the genuine ache of what’s being represented.
As suggested, a single listen is far from enough. With each revisit, a new scene stands tall, a new idea or reference, and every time this happens the EP shines a little more brightly.
Superb – hip hop as the intense and significant, consequential art form it was always set to be.