Nasty C - Strings & Bling Review
Nasty C. Jiggy Jigga. Mr. 031 himself. A lot was expected from the city’s prodigal son after he burst onto the scene with the Price City mixtape in 2015. It was raw, relentless, and unapologetic whilst having the guile of seasoned veteran. 3 years in and it’s aged well with good replay value and classic quality. It’s truly deserving of the clout he created off it. Based off his rollout and his prior songs, his latest offering “String’s & Bling” is very much about taking creativity beyond the trend and out of his comfort zone. Or maybe it isn’t.
Nasty C faces the same album and label pressures were alluded on J Cole’s “Let Nas Down”. Nasty has found himself feeling pressured to drop an album as worthy as Price City but label pressure for chart and mainstream metrics of success have him appealing to the mainstream trends (melodic rap and Hip-Hop/Pop crossovers). Creative freedom is something Nasty C doesn’t necessary lack but it’s bound to be limited due to his fan base and label demands appearing conflicted. However, nonetheless, it is only natural to expect growth and perhaps an artistic deviation of some sort in a follow up project following decent album effort in the form of Bad Hair. His own contributions since the album have been alarming as he has created a powerful rollout where singles, guest verses and freestyles have had us contemplating about his boundless potential. Wicked flows, cutthroat punchlines and self-confident deliveries. We’ve grown accustomed to that but for this album to truly resonate, Nasty needs to be creative, raw and focused.
The album’s release was preceded by single tracks “Jungle” & “King” featuring A$AP Ferg. Jungle is an ordinary song inspired by energetic bass and dance deriving rhythms, however, the lyrics tend to be directionless and disjointed. King is a well-executed ode to blowing up across the continent, surpassing those that he once looked up to and ultimately, dominating the game. Nasty bodied it. Ferg’s verse ties in well too. Those two singles left us with conflicted but positive thoughts about the albums potential.
The album opens up with “Blisters”. The title track seems to have a greater meaning and it works perfectly. It sets a rapping/bass-filled precedent which will later dwindle to an ill-executed singing presence in album.
“U played yourself” offers a sombre relief from the hard hitting beats from previous songs in the project, with the 031 native discussing infidelity, faithfulness and letting go of forgone relationships. It’s short but it gets to the point with the usual of a cool delivery and staggered rhyme phrases. “Do U Digg” immediately brings back the bass. It serves a clear highlight on the album as the incredible production lets Nasty C spazz. On a dark percussion crazed beat, Nasty goes wild. Entendres on entendres, double time rhyme schemes and changing flows. It’s definitely an illustration of what we’ve always thought he was capable of.
The album goes further, appearing decent and at times good but failing to truly captivate and thrill the listener. Nasty C and Rowlene showcase their impressive chemistry on the heartbreak influenced song “SMA.” as Nasty illustrates his ability to create music is just as decent as his capabilities as an MC. However, this is where Nasty C crosses the Rubicon:
Whilst the first half of the album might have been littered with braggadocios raps, the second is more focused on nostalgic lyrics, storytelling and a pop influenced singing. Thank God for auto tune and vocalist features. It then becomes a balancing act (which is sonically cumbersome at times) of experimenting with a different sound while giving the people the clinical raps we’ve become accustomed to but the clearest difference is the step-up in storytelling. “Shit that can only be created if you go through it”.
The album isn’t bad. On one hand, Nasty needs to realize that while he alone was the crown prince after “Price City”, his contemporaries have caught up with him. There’s competition for the throne now. A-Reece, Shane and Emtee are still ahead. Moreover, artists such as The Big Hash are on the way. He needs to escape his comfort zone soon before he’s edged out the race. On the other hand, this isn’t necessarily bad. It’s experimental but to be completely honest, he lacks the full creative ability to bring original ideas together. In today’s current landscape, it also doesn’t stand out. It seems decent and somewhat enjoyable but nothing particularly mind-blowing. Perhaps not to his fault or lack of ability, per se, but to the ridiculous, stratospheric standards. Initially, I did not like this album, it had to grow on me and I sincerely hope it continues to do so as a body of work.