In the last year or so it’s seemed like almost everyone wants to make hip-hop more exciting, as if the music that has come to soundtrack an entire generation of international pop culture has somehow grown too archaic for mass distribution – save for Nemesis, of course.
Nemesis has been taking a pretty conventional path with her recording career thus far, but in her brand new single “Vibe Flow,” she finds the perfect marriage of harmonious pop hooks and progressive compositional conceptualism and shatters expectations from both her detractors and disciples alike. With all of the buzz that this song has received even before its official release date, I wasn’t sure what to anticipate when I sat down to review it recently, but I’m happy to say that I was pleasantly surprised by the sprawling structure and intrepid design of what its nearly four minutes of fiery melodicism contained.
The vocal is smooth as silk and lightly textured relative to the ferocious bassline that shadows it in the mix. Grooves, not beats, are what produce the most excitement in “Vibe Flow,” and they’re situated between every verse as if to constantly spur us closer to the molten hot nucleus driving the track from within the words. Nemesis’ voice is soft and tender, but her lyrics are hardly as cool and calm. The anxiousness of an elevated heart rate is reflected in the pulsating percussion that intensifies the rhythm around her vocal, but instead of leaving us out to dry in the climactic chorus, she mercifully releases some of the tension with a cathartic hook that saves us from total solemnity.
The lack of urgency in the verses coming out of the chorus is a little regrettable from a critical perspective, but the tempo is nevertheless gripping and as integral to the essence of this track’s luster as any other element in the song is. Nemesis has a lot of ambition, and that’s more than evident in “Vibe Flow,” though I think that if she were given more room to flex in these tauter tunes, her music could appeal more to the left-field hip-hop crowd as well as mainstream consumers. She’s got the chops to do just about anything, and with the right studio setting, I think she could become one of the biggest players in the game come 2023.
There’s still plenty of ground left for her to cover as a composer, but “Vibe Flow” is a wonderful step in the right direction for Nemesis’ artistry, which continues to take me aback with its uncaged panache and erudite quality. Nemesis has been making music since she was a young woman, that much is more than obvious when listening to her elite diction in any given performance, and you don’t have to be a seasoned music critic like myself to recognize just how intimate a relationship she’s cultivated with her medium over the years. It’s on full display in this new single, and for my money, it’s one of the main reasons to keep this impeccable songstress on your radar.
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