Nacho Picasso hasn’t received nearly the amount of attention that he deserves in 2012. You could say it’s understandable, as it has been the best year for rap music since the early 2000’s and there’s been a lot of worthy artists stealing his shine, but I get the feeling that history will be a lot kinder to Nacho’s recent run than the hip hop hype machine has been to this point. Nacho and his production team Blue Sky Black Death have created their own unique sound in the last couple of years with a trilogy of full length albums that reached a creative high point in Exalted, a fact that that was even more astonishing considering they had just put out Lord of the Fly only a few months earlier.
Nacho’s drive to make each bar better than the next is the key to his success. His subject matter rarely strays from sex, drugs, and obscure pop culture references, but his consistently great writing (especially when it comes to hooks) gives his music a level of depth that’s unmatched by anyone you might consider a peer. His new nine-song mixtape (or “prixtape” as he calls it) Black Narcissus serves a couple different purposes, one to act as a stop gap between Exalted and his next collaborative effort with BSBD, and two to show that he’s capable of holding down a project without BSBD behind the boards.
The production is split between longtime Nacho collaborator Raised by Wolves and newcomer Eric G. While both producers seem to be more or less emulating the spaced out, layered style that has been BSBD’s signature since linking with Nacho Picasso, they do more than hold their own and prove that while Nacho may be a beneficiary of BSBD production, he’s not a product of it. Eric G produced my two favorite songs from the project in “Cover Me In Gold” and “Master Shredder”. “Cover Me In Gold” is an ode to excess and a great way to get familiar with Nacho if you’re unfamiliar to this point. The chorus says it all- “My ego’s enormous, ignore my ignorance/ Cover me in gold till I feel I’m important/ Steal all my fortune, I feel like an orphan…/I’m drugged out in Florence, ignore my performance…/A mean drug assortment with Natalie Portman, cover me in gold till I feel I’m important”. I’m not exactly sure how that chorus reads to someone who hasn’t heard it a hundred times, but I can assure you if you listen to Black Narcissus a few times you’ll be repeating it (and many more memorable Nacho-isms) to anyone willing to listen. Embrace your inner asshole and pick up Black Narcissus from Bandcamp.
Written by John Bugbee