Dejon Cheeks, aka KidNamedNOVA, aka Brooklyn’s Baby, aka a truly promising voice in hip-hop, after a much anticipated, nerve-wracking wait, summer 2016 has been blessed with the young artist’s debut album Rap Villain.
Rap Villain begins with a short downtempo track with the rapper’s feature who is his long-time friend, fellow producer, and mentor the equally formidable Asethic. I don’t advise for any rapper to allow their features to go first, however I have seen a similar move done successfully in the case of Kid Cudi’s Indicud. A similar argument could also be made in the case of Chance’s song “Good Ass Intro”, but even then the parallels falter because it seems as though the second rapper comes in as hype man stating “there is no competition”. I could see that Nova was trying to take a risk, but still, it diminishes the artist dominance and hold on his own music. Because the first track really sets the tone for the project as a whole, track three really should have opened the mixtape; it is full of rich language and the amount of vigor I needed to really get into the mixtape. I love, love the playful references to Pokemon and Yu-Gi-Oh.
Rap Villain as a whole jack-knifes between passionate, introspective tracks to more turn-up singles such as “NOVA Sensei”, which gets everyone out of their seats screaming when it drops. If this emerging rapper has a classic track to date then this is it. Succeeding this track is “What’s The Word?”, which dropped for a brief time on SoundCloud; one of my favorite tracks that carries the tone, flavor, and charm of Brooklyn all wrapped in one.
Overall, this is a great album for the summer. It’s playful, exciting, and you’re like me love your whiskey what better music to have bumping in the back. Nova’s lyrical dexterity is self-sustaining, but it lacks any sort of risk or urgency. I need him to get in the ring and show me that his work is the truth. That he is the truth. Granted because I have been familiar with the rapper’s work before this first project, perhaps I hold him to a particularly higher standard and I stand firm that the album needed to be more daring. It is an okay album, but not excellent. Especially for what I know the rapper is capable of. I am joyous this one of his first major steps into his career. The first of many.
Final Rating: 3.5/5