Review Summary: "What hasn’t been done before is what we tryna do. On the verge of takin' over the game, you just kinda blue."
Hot on the heels of being featured twice on Statik Selektah’s latest album, Lucky 7
(which is the first time he’s had guest verses on an established artist’s release), Your Old Droog has temporarily put any further outside collaborations on hold and returned to his regular lineup of producers for his third EP, The Nicest
. Despite the recurring lyrical theme of Droog claiming himself to be what the title of this EP refers to, the “nicest” thing about this little release is far and away the immaculate production work. At this point, it’s no secret to any listener of his that Droog has an affinity for all forms of jazz, but his long-time production team comprised of DJ Skizz, El RTNC, and Marco Polo have outdone themselves this time around by pinpointing the certain organic, chilled-out jazz that Droog has been feeling out from the beginning. The usage of live instruments is layered and mixed in such a detailed, yet natural fashion that it can truly sound as though Droog is rapping alongside an actual jazz band rather than just over beats.
As proficiently cool as The Nicest
is, however, there are a handful of downfalls to come along with this achievement. One of the central detractors is Droog’s rapping; his flow has always come across rougher when he had smooth instrumentals backing him, so it’s not too surprising that he sounds amateurly sluggish and vanilla while rapping over a set of nothing but smooth tracks. That lack of variety in the tracks is, in a way, another disappointing aspect of this EP. One major benefit of the EP format is that it allows an artist to try something different for a brief duration of time, and The Nicest
can’t really be faulted for lacking energy because it aims to be completely laid-back, but that doesn’t prevent this EP from seeming a bit redundant on the whole. The rock culture-inspired Kinison
EP that preceded The Nicest
was much more diverse and had a colorful range of influences from varying genres; which makes this EP appear to be somewhat of a step backward and significantly less progressive in comparison.
plays more like a refined and enhanced version of the vision Droog had for his self-titled debut EP as opposed to something like Kinison
that took the rapper’s sound in intriguing directions. Droog and his producers have now mastered this particular craft of jazz rap, and the result here is impressive in its own right, but with a full-length studio album reportedly planned for the fourth quarter of the year, what would really make Droog “the nicest” is if he proved his versatility as a rapper and delivered some new and different advancements in the evolution of his sound.