D.C. Rapper NAPPYNAPPA Displays His Inventive Stylings on +Rawdograwloverawgod+
NAPPYNAPPA’s second release of 2017, +Rawdograwloverawgod+, is a loose and wild ride. Armed with trap sounds and a punk’s ear for breaking rules with style, NAPPYNAPPA displays inventive command of rhythm across the record’s seven-song, 25-minute run.
There is a distinctly Southern twist on the raps NAPPYNAPPA writes. You can hear the influence of Andre 3000 and Big Boi in the stuttering flows that dot the album. At times it seems like NAPPYNAPPA is trying to cram too much into one bar, the flow threatening to go off the rails until an unexpected internal rhyme locks it all into place. He often layers multiple vocal takes, each with its own slightly tweaked rhythm, resulting in dizzying patterns like on the glitzy “MPH//Bend’n Forc’z”.
Lyrically, NAPPYNAPPA covers a lot of heavily treaded ground, from old school geeky alien references to more standard hip hop flexes, but always creatively. Sometimes, those interests share the same bar, like the following on “Ascenshun//Intens Anticipation”: “You just getting by on your spaceship / I done passed your ass with teleportation / I aim too high just to get lowballed!”
Even after accounting for the classic influences, NAPPYNAPPA wears the mark of his generation of rappers proudly. Aside from the sparse post-modern production and artistically leveraged vocal effects, much of +Rawdograwloverawgod+ is interested in exploring vulnerability.
Take the aforementioned “Ascenshun//Intens Anticipation.” The hypnotically sung line, “Flashing lights block the stars with pollution / Making it hard to breathe,” can be read without the use of a racial lens. But in the context of cultural resentment of police violence against minorities, it feels more poignant.
NAPPYNAPPA also comments his peers over the playful dance beat of “-Rawdograwloverawgod-.” “I love everybody / But everybody love money / And everybody love everybody / But everybody don’t love themselves,” he chants, bemused that someone could be so disconnected from their emotions that they could lose their self-love. The thing is, not every young rapper could find so much to love on such a strong early career release.