Nigo - “I Know NIGO!” Album Review
In this day of age, hip hop artists have been using their fame to enter the fashion industry. But it is very rare for a fashion designer to break into the music industry.
This is exactly what Japanese fashion designer Nigo has done by making a name for himself by DJing and producing songs.
But Nigo has been staying behind the scenes by producing for artists and not releasing much music under his name.
This was until he recently released “I Know NIGO!”, his first album he released since 2005.
Nigo was able to get this album into mainstream media by including many big-name rappers on the project.
The album was held to high expectations because of its feature list and Nigo reaches these expectations by creating unique beats that fit each artist’s flow and lyrical ability.
The album starts off with a bang with a freestyle from A$AP Rocky and Tyler, the Creator. On “Lost and Found Freestyle 2019”, the duo rap about their riches over two samples of Slim Thug’s songs from “Already Platinum”.
The two rappers match each other’s rapping ability and give fans even more proof that a collaboration album between the two would be a great project.
A$AP Rocky returns on the next song “Arya”, which features hard hitting kicks, 808s and a bone chilling piano melody. The rapper continues to show listeners his strong charisma that makes his songs so unique.
On “Punch Bowl”, rappers Pusha T and No Malice reunite for another powerful song. But the brothers’ flow and voice are so similar that it sounds like Pusha T raps the whole song.
Pharrell and Gunna both provide mellow bars in their verses on “Functional Addict”. The song features a euphoric chorus where Pharrell shows off his vocal range over beautiful synths and strings.
“Want It Bad” consists of a techno beat that includes beautiful vocals in the melody and strong 808s and claps. The production fits Kid Cudi’s style perfectly and it even sounds like it could be off his recent album.
In the next song, the Japanese hip hop group Teriyaki Boyz are featured. The beat in this song is very similar to the one preceding it, but in “More Tonight” the hi hat overwhelms the rest of the production.
“Paper Plates” features another futuristic beat that will get any listener moving. But Pharrell sings the chorus in a very high pitch which combined with A$AP Ferg’s lazy flow and lyricism, makes the song hard to listen to.
In “Hear Me Clearly”, Pusha T uses creative lyricism to rap about his spending habits and about selling and doing drugs. This includes bars such as, “Extracurricular, art buyer, 812 ‘Rari driver. Spent six just to make the roof, Harry Potter” and “Left my elbow in the pot, a la Vince Carter”.
Pop Smoke makes a posthumous appearance on the track “Remember”, which sounds like a drill beat but without the strong 808s. This choice makes the song standout because it still fits Pop Smokes flow very well but is a refreshing variant to the drill genre.
The next song continues the drill sound, but “Heavy” has the stereotypical drill 808s. It is nice to see Lil Uzi Vert experiment with the drill genre and it seems like he can excel with these types of beats. But in this song, he doesn’t have enough energy at some points.
The record ends with “Come On, Let’s Go”, where Tyler, The Creator combines multiple sounds from his past work. The lyrics sound like they could be from “Igor” while his aggressive flow sounds like it is from “Call Me If You Get Lost”. He continues to experiment with his sound and produce unique tracks.
Throughout “I Know NIGO!”, Nigo shows off his impressive production skills and proves he can make an album consisting of many different sounds. He experiments with Japanese electronic beats, drill and trap.
Because of the experimentation, the album sounds a little all over the place. But this is somewhat expected from an album by a producer that has many features.
Even though the production is unique, the beat selection fits with each artist’s rap style.
It is up in the air on when a new Nigo project will be released or if this will happen at all. This is because it has been over 15 years since his last project, and he is 51-year-old.
But if he does release more work, he should continue to show off the Japanese hip hop sound.
He should also continue to work with the artist on this record on their projects because he has shown he can bring out the best in them.
Reviewer’s Favorite Songs: “Lost and Found Freestyle 2019” and “Come On, Let’s Go”
Reviewer’s Least Favorite Song: “Paper Plates”
Jayson O’Connell is a third-year majoring in broadcast journalism. To contact him, email firstname.lastname@example.org