PatricKxxLee is the Zambian-born, but South-African based artist who has been making waves within the Internet's music scene for a few years now. He gained even more traction through his well-received 2017 album, "Diary of an Arsonist". Rolling this album, he revealed that he was working on his new album "Nowhere Child". After much anticipation and delay, Nowhere Child was finally released on November 29th 2018.
The album starts off with an intro, literally titled "Intro". It serves as an introduction into Patrick's life, as he speaks about his current environment. He repeats the refrain, "why am I surrounded by the people that I despise?”. He sees the amount of fake people who've entered his life following his success. He highlights this by posing questions throughout the song. Questions about whether those people actually care about him. These questions see Patrick analyze his relationships and suggests that he should pretend to be more like them, the same people around him who lack a genuineness/uniqueness. Patrick manages to do all this while rapping in a sombre mood, and later on in the song, singing in a beautiful melody, to some great production. A truly good album introduction but it’s a greater look at some of the themes of the album: self-doubt, anxiety and pain. When singing on “Intro”, he seemingly comes to the conclusion that it doesn’t want to be like them – we’re headed nowhere fast. We’re all going to die. Somewhat morbid but Patrick’s realism has always set him apart.
The next track is "Can't Tame Morgan". The first thing that catches you immediately is how incredible the production is. The subject matter in this track is also very self-exposing. As Patrick dives deeply into his use/abuse of alcohol.
PatricKxxLee speaks about how he uses alcohol to numb the negativity of his inner thoughts but how this has quickly led to an addiction that could very well kill him. As he speaks of how he's constantly drinking, constantly blacking out, and doing things like drunk driving and misusing his finances. Not only does Patrick describe all of this well, but he also manages to flow well too. Coincide this with his use of humor, he seems to show his own personality. A lighthearted character facing darkness. He makes references to Mr Meeseeks (the cartoon character from Rick and Morty) but it’s witty lines like "My liver taking beatings like my dick when there’s no bitches” which make his writing standout.
"Can't tame Morgan" is a metaphor for how he can't tame his need for alcohol. Morgan being a reference to the liquor brand, Captain Morgan. Which is further shown in the hook of the song. A hook which is not only catchy, but also well written. Another well executed song.
"One shot two shot, now we’re having fun. Three shot four shot, now I want more. Double that and double that I’m crawling on the floor. Captain Morgan, I’m sailing on your ship, drowning in myself thought I only took a dip. I can’t tame Morgan, I’m off the fucking rip. I can’t tame Morgan, I’m off the fucking rip."
"Sweet Whisper" follows thereafter. The instrumental leaves you in anticipation of what will come next. Not only does it have a suspenseful sound, but the bass and the 808 kicks add a lot more to it. The instrumental calls for a moshpit. Patrick's voice completes the sense of eeriness with his dark tonality, rough melodic cadences and plenty of energy. He comes across aggressively and it’s truly impressive. Patrick is rarely acknowledged for his lyrical ability but man, this nigga can rap rap. He sounds dominant and aggressive.
"If a nigga look at you wrong, then raise your fist and pick a fight."
"If it ever get too hard, just pull the plug I’ll watch you die".
Aggressive indeed but there’s a coherent developing theme – Patrick is seemingly surrounded by darkness and detached.
The verses follow a similar pattern – his lyrics are simultaneously dark and psychotic.
"And sometimes it’s okay to wanna stab ‘em in the neck." "Just make sure before you leave the body really dead".
Patrick delivers this in a unique way, as his tone compliments his style. Patrick switches flows constantly, switching to double time, fast flows and high density at times. Add his aggressive delivery style and emotive writing, he’s convincingly "insane". Patrick manages to discuss romance in a similarly detached way.
"I think I find it fun to play with all my bitches’ hearts. Cause here’s a little secret, I didn’t have one from the start".
He manages to carry this sort of energy throughout the entire song and the result is a well-executed conceptual song. Patrick is not only able to maintain the themes but he does so with an arc of charisma and confidence. Making you truly believe his act. The way this song is done is reminiscent of Slim Shady Eminem.
Next up is "Hurts to feel". The song starts off with strings, before the kicks and bass comes in. The song is produced in a more simplistic nature and sounds more similar to pop-rap or in the sonic vein of a Lil Uzi Vert song. The song is something different musically from Patrick's usual style and he mainly sings on the song as well. Noticeably, Patrick’s central focus is engaging melodies and emotive songwriting. His cadences and sonic direction see him incorporate rock melodies while his dark emotive writing, reinforces his message. He’s experiencing challenges in his life which have created depression – this has brought a sense of unhappiness and anxiety in his life.
Lyrically, this song starts off with the refrain: "See now I've come to realize, that it hurts to feel inside, it fucking hurts to be alive, Can’t trust my thoughts, myself, My mind is hell.” The refrain is written with a certain directness, giving the words a vivid imagery, and immediately tells you about the song’s dark and depressing intent, and Patrick’s negative mental space. He speaks about his experience with his depression and the constant thoughts he has, along with the feeling of uncertainty when it comes to dealing with this. This is done in a melodic manner, with echoes in the background, and although experimental for Patrick, it’s still impressive.
“Idle Mind” sees Patrick join forces with his long-time friend and collaborator, J Molley. The song is based on melodic suspense and the resolving of tension through the introduction of drums, sinister 808s and a crazy bass. Thematically dark and trap/rock influenced production. Patrick uses echoed autotune to perform the hook, which he maintains with the verses and performs it similarly to a ballad. On the song, he addresses temporary people (clout chasers), his consistent drug use and emotional flaws. Patrick mainly speaks about a broken relationship with one of the many girl’s he’s involved with, and how they both simultaneously use each other. Whilst he uses her for pleasure, she uses him for his success, and this led to the toxicity of their relationship.
J Molley features and makes sure that his verse is completely worthwhile. Molley expands on Patrick’s theme and uses his verse to speak about his bad romantic experiences. Molley uses religious metaphors to create vivid imagery and depict his narrative. Speaking of himself as Jesus, due to sacrifices he’s made to be where he is, and comparing his partners to the devil. J Molley also references his demons (like suicidal thoughts) which ties into the concept as well, since demons are also a part of spirituality. Ultimately, Patrick’s showing was somewhat disappointing but Molley’s contributions were impressive - short, concise and suits his musical style. They have contrasting vocal timbres and use melodies differently although both incorporating singing. As such, their efforts complement each other well.
“H3llywood Blvd” was released as an album single. After its release, the album was delayed. The song was crafted based off of Patrick’s experience whilst he was working in America over the last year. Production wise, this song is beautiful. The production is based on minor tonality, it uses a dissonant chord as the main melody. Alongside throbbing 808s and clean hi-hats, he has the space to express himself freely. He matches the production. He delivery sees him use a tone of uncertainty, which makes his uncertainty towards his new found environment - plus the lyrics – more believable. The lyrics add to this idea, as he speaks about how he feels alone and unsure in this place.
“Can’t tell my wrongs and rights”
“I might lose my soul tonight”
He makes various references of how easy it is to get caught up in the big city. “Hollywood Boulevard” is audible and repeated but at times, it sounds as if he’s saying HELLywood, rather than Hollywood. This artistic effort represents the themes of sin presented in the song alongside the spelling of the song on his album tracklist. The song sees him speak of his family troubles, emotional state, drugs abuse and other themes. He references experiences to Hollywood – the place known for celebrities experiencing similar troubles.
Patrick redeems himself in this track from his below standard showing on the previous track. The song is a great effort. Patrick uses melodies and a singing cadences. Again, he infuses rock melodies into his music. The song transitions as a new diminished theme is played – the transition sees Patrick come across as aggressive as his delivery style is imposing and he uses a quicker flow. It’s impressive how he can seemingly find a balance in his use of melodies and still being lyrically inclined. The song again transitions again as he uses a beautiful electric guitar solo rings. The song’s melody seemingly mimics the guitars throughout. Notably, electric guitars are used mostly within rock and this is a greater exhibition of his ability to fuse both genres.
“Distraction (Reaction Relapsing)” sees him utilize a distorted and heavily autotuned melodies throughout the hook. Contrastingly, when rapping, Patrik’s voice is raw and as such, he details his struggles. There’s a connect – the use of his natural tonality evokes the feelings that his thoughts are coming from his soul. There’s a clear sense of self-awareness shown by Patrick throughout – he knows his vices but still indulges nonetheless. He uses repetitive melodies as means to exhibit how his own life has reoccurring patterns. The production uses heavy drums and snares while the instrumental evokes melancholy.
The first half of the song sees Patrick sing the chorus and bridge for the majority, whereas the second half sees Patrick show of his rapping ability through his use of rhyme skills and vocabulary to describe the repeating patterns he shows in his life. The “distractions” and “relapses”. Distracting himself with “temporary love” and the constant use of the word “Again”, is the relapsing. A decent showing and a generally good effort.
“Love Pyscho 100” sees Patrick address obsessions and going “crazy” over something. He repeats the refrain, “that shit drives me crazy” throughout the song. The beat is decent, mainly relying on using a high BPM and computer-generated melodies. Patrick uses this song to mostly speak about his lifestyle as a rapper or “Rockstar”, he emphasizes his experiences and all things obsessive/crazy. As such, he addresses groupies and stalkers but also things which give him excitement (such as live performances). The quick BPM was possibly made purposefully fast as an indication of his fast lifestyle. The song does become annoyingly repetitive and slightly tedious although being an out-of-the box concept. The song features the duo of Champagne69, and they help
Create new energy within the song before Patrick continues for longer than necessary. Their delivery differentiates from Patrick’s which helps add a new tone to the song and makes it more enjoyable.
After this, “Poison” begins. The track begins with dramatic piano keys before the beat fully drops in your face like an explosion. Kicks, high bass and a lot of energy from Patrick. Patrick uses a natural singing voice here, which is rare and something that he should do more often. It’s easier to connect and hear his message without additional vocal tools – it also creates a sense of “truth”. Another notable thing about Patrick: he is never afraid to experiment. The song sees him testing his boundaries and show his extreme versatility. Patrick uses this song to confront how he feels like a poison, and compares himself to the drugs that he uses, which are also poisonous. The song is quite short but it’s a clear and enjoyable listen.
The track that follows, “Never Paradise” sees Patrick use a more simplistic beat, which works in his favour as the primary focus on this song becomes him. Patrick once again displays the rapping ability he has in his repertoire. With a lot of multi-syllables, metaphors and aggression, lyrically. He focuses on the theme of deception and perception, questioning the validity of a lot of things and a lot of people. Hence why he says “Never Paradise” because there isn’t complete paradise in this world of illusion. Paradise itself is an illusion, or at least from his perspective.
“What have I become, I don’t recognize my own reflection.”
“I can tell you all about self-deception, sick of all the lies they televise, mind-fucking your perception. Sell us demons in a store, like they possessing your perspective.”
The song gives the listener an idea of how Patrick views the world from a deeper level. It’s interesting to see him giving food for thought. It’s a frontrunner and among the best songs on the album. His wordplay and metaphors are concrete yet compelling.
The penultimate song is “Bermuda Triangle”. It utilizes a more punk-rock inspired instrumental, with a great use of drums. Patrick uses this song to express everything he’s been feeling. A few seconds in and there’s a lot of self-exposing as he release it all. Everything. From his past mistakes, to his failures (to himself, his friends and his family), his never-ending drug problem (which simultaneously ties into helping him cope with his depression), self-searching and most of all – his relationship with his mother and how he feels like he’s let her down the most. This is probably the most introspective and emotional track on the album, which also displays Patrick’s great qualities as a song-writer and artist. The subject matter is different from anything else I’ve heard from him and it’s easily one of the best tracks on the album. Elite writing.
“Mind too blurry to even know what I’m running from, I’m sorry mom. Maybe it’s because I feel so alone. I feel so possessed by my fucking past, begging all my friends for another chance, what about the last? Substance in my system I’m less depressed, I'm free at last. Then I sober up to the consequence of every act.”
The album finishes with “Cliff or Hang”. The song is a let-down considering the heights of the prior song. It doesn’t feel like a strong album closer but rather, a bonus track. The drum solo and fading voice towards the end of the song are cool but ultimately, the song falls slightly flat.
In conclusion, Nowhere Child is a good sophomore project by PatricKxxLee. Patrick sounds more confident and more focused (by not over extending the album length). He’s shown his versatility and willingness to experiment while managing to pull off the vast majority of his creative ideas. The project showcases his strengths: his production capabilities, lyricism, musicality and ear for production. He has shown chemistry with artists featured and every feature is notable and a highlight. Nothing on the album was done without meaning and it’s that razor-deep focus which sets him apart. The transitions were also seamless and tracklisting was coordinated well (in exception to the final song). He’s managed to mix different sounds and done so adequately enough for the melodies to not become redundant. However, it also shows some of his flaws. Patrick loves to experiment but with experimentation, comes mixed results. He doesn’t always pull things and tends to be repetitive with the things that he discusses, and melodies tend to be overdone. Nonetheless, his growth and development are encouraging.
His diverse production and singing alongside his songwriting and hit-making skills allow him to have a greater reach and solidify him as a great artist and musician in his own right. It’s an introspective outlook and Patrick’s proven to be detailed and intricate throughout. The shorter length allows the project to be concise and a genuine listening pleasure.