Written By: Ethan Griggs
My Music: ethangriggsmusic.virb.com
Originality: (3 / 5) Vocals/Flow: (4 / 5) Lyrics: (4 / 5) Production: (3 / 5) Average: (3.5 / 5)
Nyck Caution and Kirk Knight aren’t new to the game. They are each a part of the Brooklyn-based hip-hop collective Pro Era, which also boasts the talents of Joey Bada$$, and they’ve each released their own studio projects through the collective’s in-house label. Now, they’ve teamed up to give us a clobbering of hip-hop that’s highly indebted to the East Coast. On their eponymous debut EP as Nyck @ Knight (yes, like the late night Nickelodeon block [email protected]) the duo emits a sense of millennial nostalgia for the cultural and musical qualities of the 90’s hip-hop scene, a trait that is coupled with a modern sense of multiracial unity.
Both second-tier rappers among an A-list rap organization, Nyck @ Knight seem desperate to assert their authority, and this is immediately apparent through the motivated and charged up opening track “Off The Wall”. On the assertive “All Night”, the duo sounds akin to contemporary biracial hip-hop troubadours Run the Jewels. On “Dial-Up”, Knight relays his confidence with the memorable bar “While you’re surfing through your TV/Nyck @ Knight changing your channels/Watch them boys make it look easy/First episode can get cancelled”.
I hope you like to get dirty, because the beats on the EP are absolutely filthy. A distinct 90’s vibe is provided on the highlight track “No One Seems To Care”, and the sound of the instrumentals seem to migrate a bit west by the time the Nyck-prominent track “Perfect Murder” hits the speakers. There is an obvious likening to Eminem in Nyck’s flow and delivery when he spits “I’m eating finally, yeah they got somebody to burn a body/Heard the lane is open, got me swerving like I’m Ricky Bobby/If you ain’t first you last, all that I know/Murder competition, I’m Ivan Drago, I got the throttle”. The sound does become a little more pensive and personal once the Knight-driven “Headlights” pops up.
The best track on the EP is “Audiopium”, which features the entire Pro Era crew. With the help of Joey Bada$$ and CJ Fly, the duo pays tribute to Pro Era’s boss organization, the Beast Coast collective: “Beast Coast stunna ’bout to feast this summer/Brand new pies, got the pizza coming/This dough man don’t need no oven/My dope-heads they need that audiopium”. The EP closer “Wake Up” is also its smoothest, most classic-sounding track.
Hip-hop collaboration projects can be a hit or a miss, but as far as Nyck @ Knight is concerned, the duo have created a record that’s as good of a collaboration as it is a debut effort. While it may not be quite on par with albums like All Amerikkkan Bada$$, the self-titled EP from Nyck Caution and Kirk Knight is sure to take up room on both the rappers’ resumes. If you’re a fan of all things 90’s hip-hop and 90’s nostalgia in general, this disc is for you.