records we're into: Insert Catchphrase Here by Ner-D

Surprise, hip-hop! In spite of our being an Americana-rock band, we listen to more than Springsteen, Earl Scruggs, and Chris Stapleton (I mean, not much more, but still). 

Ner-D is the rap-alter ego of Matt Allen, who is the lead singer of Black Genesis. But we're not here to talk about them, we're here to talk about how. freaking. great. this. mixtape. is. 

    original photo, Justine Kopischke. 

 

original photo, Justine Kopischke. 

If you're a fan of Chance the Rapper, or anybody in the acid rap genre really, Ner-D is exactly what you're looking for. He sings all the hooks, he slips back and forth between rapping & singing, and ends up blurrin the line between the two. Three part harmony, nerdy references that start from track 1 and carry through the whole record, this mixtape is a lot of fun. 

Like almost every other mixtape that's been made since the dawn of time, some tracks are weaker than the rest. Guy's getting his feet, and when it's only pretty good it is still pretty damn good. 

Standout tracks on this record are 2XL, 42, and Sweatpants & Lingerie. These three tunes exemplify what works in this record.

2XL is joyful, silly, and full of references to nerd culture, and 42 is thoughtful and self-aware of the fact that this is just one of the thousands of mixtapes put out on the internet every week.

Sweatpants & Lingerie is as complex of a love song as one could ask for. Being friends with someone you've always sort of been in love with is hard enough without both of them being in happy, committed relationships.

As he says in the track, neither party has interest in breaking off what they have in order to jump into a different relationship out of passion/desperation, but he can't help but wonder what it might have been like had they fallen in love. 

In a time where the dysfunction of masculinity is more present than ever, this sort of nuanced, honest and agency-respecting track is refreshing. 

listen here