Distorted, off-kilter and eclectic, JWords’ music over the past few years has been nothing short of mesmeric. The New Jersey producer always gifts us with energetic and electronic compositions, and her incredible knack for creating skeletal yet soulful beats is what makes her stand out for me as one of most innovative producers making music today. Nappy Nina on the other hand, is one of the most charismatic and engaging new emcees I’ve heard in recent years. The Tree Act and Dumb Doubt are examples of her introspective and clever work, as the poet always seems to flow effortlessly on beat, giving us a picture of her life through intricate wordplay and personal verses that are truly one of a kind. Together, Nappy Nina and JWords have released an excellent new collaborative album titled Double Down. With 9 tracks and features from Stas THEE Boss, ANYANWU KG and maassai, the project is a dynamic, electronic body of work that captures both JWords’ eclectic, synth-heavy production and Nappy Nina’s introspective and inspiring poetry.
“The therapist won’t text me back, what mess is that?” Nappy Nina proclaims on the opening track “Messy”, already signaling a tone that will reflect her own imperfections and struggles. As with her other work, and something I reflected on the Dumb Doubt review,she’s proudly embracing imperfections, both physical ones and mental ones, that she faces on a daily basis. JWords’ jittery production gives the project a sense of urgency, especially on tracks like “Wanted” and “Scrd”. Stas THEE Boss graces “Real Tea” with a soothing, animated verse that complements Nappy Nina’s fast-paced verses. She questions love on “Is Me A Star”, at least that’s what I interpret from it, her doubting whether she is good enough to be good enough for someone, which is something I can relate to, as with other people I’m sure. It’s her openness and honesty about doubting herself and her abilities that makes this such a great listen, though I don’t think anyone can doubt her abilities as an artist and poet. maassai’s confident verse on “Thin Ice” brings clarity, as she own the stage, speaking her shit. “Table Set” is another reflective moment, where she airs out frustrations and other thoughts over a thumping beat. “4am” concludes the project with another reflective track, talking about loneliness, death and all the other 4am thoughts we think of when awake at that time. Her ability to create relatable verses in a tone that is both calming and reassuring makes this such a great project, and of course JWords’ choppy, intricate production adds to the charismatic sound that is both skeletal and soulful.
Nappy Nina and JWords are true ambassadors not only for hip-hop coming out of New York, but globally. As mentioned already, Nappy Nina’s intricate and relatable lyricism make her a captivating lyricist, while JWords’ eclectic electronic production has the ability to draw me in fully, immersing myself in her world of off-kilter beats, driving and dynamic grooves and synth melodies that are just so engaging and interesting to me. Both are exceptional, and together they brought the best out of each other. Double Down is one hell of a statement from both artists, and a project I definitely recommend you check out and support!
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