Label: Mends Recordings
Rating: 7 / 10
Reviewer: A to the L
The Nobodies hail from North Carolina, and this album, a collection of older and newer material, was the first release on Mends Recordings, a small indie label that is earning a good rep as the home of some talented artists. (Mends artist Esau, received a great review on this very website last month.)
The name? Well, in the words of this two man crew (Apocalypse and Equinox), “Everybody thinks of you as a nobody. When you try to talk, nobody listens. When you try to be heard, they tell you to be quiet because you’re a nobody, and nobody wants to hear what you’ve got to say. Well we acknowledge a lot of people feel that way. So our music is inspired by and dedicated to all of the people who feel that the world thinks of them as a NOBODY.” Nice idea – but how does it transmit into music? Well lets see now…
After a short, jazzy, Tribe Called Quest sampling intro, we start with the first track proper, ‘Off The Block’. The Nas sample hooked me immediately, and then when the beat finally dropped I couldn’t help but be impressed, not only with the beat itself, but also how comfortable and confident both emcees sound busting over it. ( “I manifest and blow the spot until my voicebox pops.” ) Nice choice for an opener.
‘Get What I’m Saying’ continues with the hotness. This is Hiphop how it should be – a beat and an emcee tearing it up. Sure its nice sometimes to bump some Timbaland, with all the layers of sound that brings with it. But gimme some kick-kick-snare shit and lines like “No one can test the champ, Styles stunning plus more Cunning than Randall without the A ever eating ham.” The KRS-One sample on the chorus tops it off – this is a classic.
The next couple of tracks (one real, one interlude) don’t really stand up to close examination after the last banger. The title track ‘Fables’, is a slow tempo thumper, which I suppose isn’t that bad, its just that the last track was so dope, I have to resist the urge to rewind. After this is a little instrumental interlude – very Pete Rock-ish, but at the end of the day, not really accomplishing much.
‘Hands To The Sky’ picks the pace up again – a heavy beat, with a sprinkling of piano keys – the only beef is that the vocals are mixed slightly too low. However, I could bump an instrumental of this and STILL be happy. Its THAT dope.
‘You Don’t Know Me’ is OK. Its one of those met-this-girl-who-wouldn’t-give-me-play tracks, where everyone knows that the girl is gonna instantly change her opinion and start sweating him once she finds out he’s a rapper. Its been done a million times before and is kinda played out. Nice beats though. The played out topics continue on ‘Suicidal Tendencies’ – think Biggie’s ‘Suicidal Thoughts’ and you’ll be straight. No-one’s gonna top Chris Wallace’s version of this type of situation – why even bother?
After a pointless ‘AG Intro’, the slowed down ‘Do What I Gotta Do’ kicks in. I’m almost sure I’ve heard this chorus, and beat before on a song with exactly the same title. Can’t be sure though. Its ok – not one of my favourites – too slow, too um… pop-ish?
Thank God for ‘Peter Parker’ – no not Spiderman – its the next joint. Remember at the top of the page you read the Nobodies’ thoughts on how they got their name and what they represent? Well here it is in rap form – “Nobody paid attention when we said it’d take time to get on – when you’re a nobody, and everybody rhyme.” I likes.
‘Every Bit Of You’ is a laidback butter-smooth piece produced by Phatboy – kinda stop / start though, as we get a verse, then about 30 seconds of some woman bitching at her man, then another verse. Another one were I’d be happy with an instrumental. While you’re at it gimme one for the interlude that is ‘Bad Bwoy Intro’, cos its dope too. Why do so many artists “give away” their dopest beats? You KNOW someone is gonna snaffle this…
The next couple of tracks sound kinda dated – ‘Destiny’ is straight filler, while ‘Check It Out’ would be at home back in 1990-91. ‘Greatest MCs’samples De La Soul, and is a bright light after those last two tracks. ‘Forever Raw’ has a real neck snapping snare, that at first seems wasted on what is no more than a skit. Move forward about a minute and half to the actual start of the track though, and things are better. The snare is still there, the flow is bananas, and the chorus is simple but effective. Another banger – trim the first minute and 30 off there though.
‘Song 15’ is a simple beat with a collection of recognisable samples thrown in. It actually meshes together pretty well. KRS’s ‘Sound Of Of Da Police’, Gang Starr’s ‘Step In The Arena’, Show And AG’s ‘Party Groove’, and Tribe’s ‘Phony Rappers’ all feature, and a Jerky Boys phone called tops it off. Pretty nice. A spoken word outro finishes the album.
Overall – this is pretty solid. It does kinda lose its way a little in the middle, but the good tracks, are REALLY good, and make this album worth hunting down. Hit up your local Mends stockist today!