Shapeless grooves find a special purpose for expressiveness in the new single “Brooklyn Soup” from rapper Uncommon Nasa this November, but I wouldn’t be quick to label him with the same alternative hip-hop branding so many of his peers wear like a badge of honor. As much of an alternative to the mainstream as his approach to songwriting happens to be, there’s something very familiar and old school about the way he constructs the hook in this track, especially as it relates to his own style of execution. He’s got a very retro sensibility with regards to his linguistic technique, but sonically speaking, he’s very much on the experimental side of the spectrum.
“Brooklyn Soup” is produced with its low-end tones at the forefront of the spotlight, and I can understand why. The bass here is thick and full of vitality whereas the drums are mostly stoic and devoid of the color the vocal has, which makes it easy for the groove to feel both sludgy and imposing at the same time. We’re never forced to sift through a murky mix in search of the framework in this track though; thanks to the crisp, calculated arrangement of the instruments, we’re able to tell where every physical element begins and ends here.
Uncommon Nasa’s vocal is particularly cutting and smooth beside the instrumental componentry in “Brooklyn Soup,” and I like that it isn’t boosted by any synthetic elements in the track. Instead, this feels like a good excerpt of what a live freestyle might sound like (albeit a surreal one), and although Messiah Musik’s production hand in the music video for this song is something to marvel at all on its own, I don’t think this is a rapper who needs a lot of bells and whistles to sound elite at all.
This beat is remarkably balanced, and I appreciate the lengths Uncommon Nasa likely went to just to ensure that the verses he’s rapping are never pushed to the edge of the track. It never sounds like we’re listening to something that’s been compressed or condensed just to feel radio-ready – truth be told, I haven’t heard anything out of this player’s scene that has felt chopped in the least. This is a rapper intent on repping both the culture that influenced him as well as his own agenda in the game, and his confidence alone is enough to make this single a worthwhile listen for hip-hop enthusiasts.
“Brooklyn Soup” flirts with throwback elements every now and again, but it just might be the most likable retro release to hit record store shelves out of the American underground this late fall. Uncommon Nasa isn’t playing by the rules of his genre nor those who would just as soon consider themselves the puritans charged with maintaining artistic integrity for everyone in a scene – he’s got his own path to chart in “Brooklyn Soup,” and despite taking some heavy cues from the past, his heart is clearly centered on making the most of his future.
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