Openly dedicated to all the nice people, patagonist’s latest project is a conceptual and creative step in a fresh and thoughtful direction.
The title Naker, meaning Nice Always Kills Everyone Responsible, effectively encapsulates the array of stories and sentiments that make up the project.
Soundscape-wise we’re gifted a plethora of styles and moments, touching on jazz and blues, trip hop, and holding close to that impressive and recognizable hip hop vocal that’s more commonly the patagonist sound.
Fate is the first storyteller and starts things off with a beautifully nostalgic ambiance and a detailed, scene by scene story – told by a few different flows that always fall in line with the natural rhythm of the track.
As the album goes on, you quickly realize the sheer effort and consideration that has gone into it. The opening instrumental New Game offers a hint and sets the mood for the realm to follow. Certain sound bites and audio fragments at the start of other songs and elsewhere further it, helping build a notably cinematic experience that’s brilliantly immersive.
Keisha & Ace is a melodic, hypnotic highlight for its rhythm, classic rap vibe and questioning nature. Flight or fight follows and already the energy is up – angst leads the way and quirky wordplay and clever bars captivate with ease. Then we get a touch of soulful, romantic saxophone for the openly appreciative Why do fools fall in love – a mere taste of the eclecticism that stands tall throughout the album.
Not only does the varied musicality of this project help present a genuine hit of escapism for an hour or so, but patagonist is undoubtedly one of the most compelling, captivating rappers on the contemporary scene. Not a single bar is wasted, there’s no filler, and nothing feels false or forced. These stories are fresh, that voice is too – loaded with character and stylish, subtle confidence. The overall sound is so vintage that it prompts you to wonder why you hadn’t stumbled upon it years ago. The reason is the time was never quite right, and the conceptual poignancy works perfectly right now.
Offering as many moments of simple fun as there are of more intense emotional reflection, Naker delivers a series of addictive hip hop anthems, each one infectious and engaging, yet each one unique and often unpredictable in its own way.
A story of a nice guy is a crucial part of the process. Leading with a sort of Mac DeMarco, retro synth ambiance, the song holds attention from the offset and refuses to let you go until the tale is told in full. Brilliant. Personal yet observational and descriptive in a powerful way.
Excluded keeps things topically and culturally rooted in 2020 – a clever touch of contemporary writing to remind you this is an artist of our own time. The project deals with modern life, relationships in today’s world, and introduces patagonist in the best possible way.
Cards dealt is another highlight towards the end – great vocal rhythm and references, a smooth beat, a rising sense of energy and enthusiasm. Then we get the soulful outpouring of The end to finish things up with power and addictive loops of melody and energy. There’s also the hidden bonus track – another nostalgic gem. Addiction questions the listener again, and adopts a totally different, mellow yet regimental flow and industrial beat.. An interesting alternative, and another example of how versatile the artist is.
Without question, the best project from patagonist to date – by far. Honed vocals and bars, good-vibes production, passionate and entertaining performances – a whole lot of boxes ticked and a defiantly strong playlist to lose yourself within.