Bitch: A Feminist Response to Pop Culture - - MUSIC REVIEWS - Nappy Nina { lu­cid­haus }

Ex­tra Or­di­nary is a qual­ity man­i­festo from a new artist who wanted to prove her­self as a “ca­pa­ble and wor­thy mc.” Nappy Nina’s de­but ep floats in the air be­tween Oak­land and Brook­lyn—re­fined like co­conut oil, but also rough and bit­ing.

Ex­tra Or­di­nary asks prob­ing ques­tions such as “What does it mean to be in­spired?”—a theme that sur­faces mul­ti­ple times. “Ah­mad,” pro­duced by rap artist Afro-in­ter­net, toys with this idea through a high-en­ergy col­lab­o­ra­tion be­tween Nappy Nina, Moruf, and Stas THEE Boss. The track con­tains no cho­rus, but it is clear in its syn­chronic­ity that th­ese artists are kin­dred spir­its. Nina and Stas THEE Boss are both mem­bers of Brook­lyn’s Black queer com­mu­nity, part of a col­lec­tive of artists that don’t hide their sex­u­al­ity.

Nappy Nina’s queer­ness is seam­lessly wrapped into her lyrics. In “YSNW,” she re­veals that she is “ner­vous around fine women.” While the al­bum doesn’t have a sin­gle story arc, it ex­plodes with in­tri­cate de­tails that make Nina vul­ner­a­ble and emo­tion­ally ac­ces­si­ble. She doesn’t sep­a­rate her queer­ness from her Black­ness on “Mofiya” and “Loose Leaf,” both of which cre­ate trust be­tween the artist and her au­di­ence.

I hope Nappy Nina’s next al­bum comes with liner notes, be­cause it’s easy for lis­ten­ers to get lost in the smooth sound of her voice over the hyp­notic beats. I have to see the words to fully un­der­stand how she is col­lag­ing mean­ing, like on “Growth Groove,” where she uses rep­e­ti­tion, word­play, and ca­dence to cre­ate and de­con­struct def­i­ni­tion.

She states that she is “Ahead of things, quit my job for bet­ter things/ Left my spot for bet­ter springs/ Too hope­ful/ Should hope less?/ Naw take that courage from up out yo chest.” This lay­er­ing of lan­guage and mean­ing com­bined with jazzy beats is a part of the Black rad­i­cal tra­di­tion that Fred Moten writes about in his book In the Break. Nappy Nina is cre­at­ing work that is un­der­stood, but first felt.

I found my­self fan­ta­siz­ing about the fu­ture of Nappy Nina’s work as I lis­tened. Her goal is to pro­duce good mu­sic with­out com­pro­mis­ing her “sub­ject mat­ter, flow, or choice of beat to fit the cur­rent pop­u­lar sound in hip hop.” If she keeps that prom­ise to her­self, we should ex­pect to see ex­tra­or­di­nary art from this mag­i­cal artist who is far from or­di­nary.

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