Negros Americanos, the New Jersey-based bilingual hip-hop group, just released their 6-song EP N.A. for your listening pleasure on Bandcamp and Soundcloud. The latest offering by Bishop The Eastside Nappyhead and MC Enigma expands upon their previous releases, evolving their sound into a fully realized EP with the slick beats of producer Ari Why. We have previously sung their praises, and the release of N.A. cements their spot as one of the most important and talented rising hip-hop acts in the game.
“Paola” is the groovy second track on the EP, and it’s something like a lamentation for a lost lover. Voice dripping with longing and regret, the sting of lost love feels all to real in mc enigma’s heartfelt delivery. The song, while wistful in nature, never feels somber or drags on: instead, the production is upbeat and lithe. You can feel the tropical Panamanian influence and South American flavor in the beat, especially in the repeated refrain of “Paola! Come back to me.”
Similarly, “Nurse Ratchet” is a play on One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest’s stern female leading lady, drawing parallels with another unnamed lover. Negros Americanos puts an interesting and humorous twist on their sexual escapades, with verses depicting her breast milk and tidbits like “You’re cold busted, no ketchup, no mustard.”
“The Ballad of a Falling Star (Kenny Powers)” starts with a really funky guitar line, before delivering something that could be a thesis of the whole EP: “This is that mellow rap, another story track.” This is an excellent track instrumentally, with a super cool guitar lick paired with the characteristically smooth production of Ari Why. The track that follows, though, isn’t an easy listen in terms of lyricism. “Once he got released, he was never quite the same / Imagine feeling that type of pain, how would you handle it? / You would crumble as he did”). I’ll leave it to you to listen to the story of Kenny Powers.
N.A. is something we haven’t heard before. The duo of Negros Americanos was birthed from a mutual year spent in Panama, evident in tropical flavor of the beats. Unlike a lot of hip-hop that tries to be ‘hard’ It’s always real. It touches on some seriously important issues in tandem with telling the stories of two young guys in their own voice. Negros Americanos’ bandcamp states that “these two emcee/ songwriters are dedicated to raising the bar in music, experimenting with international blends and exploring topics often overlooked or taboo in hip hop. We aim to ENTERTAIN, EDUCATE and EMPOWER!” On this fine morning, I can assure you that this release is educative, entertaining, and empowering.