Naanasin – ‘XX’ Review

Naanasin – ‘XX’ Review

Orlando producer Nannasin, from what can be gathered from his sparsely documented fan page on Facebook and his sparse body of work, is either an extremely meticulous artist or simply biding his time. Without speculating on how his career might pan out, “XX,” his first official release, is a great way to start.
Most beat-tapes are crafted with a thematic model in mind, such as Chuck Inglish’s last tape “WRKING” being an exercise in mid-80s summer soundscapes. Naanasin opts to employ an eclectic array of genre styles ranging from jazz to UK drum and bass, all the while tweaking each template with enough verve and personality to craft a sumptuous and truly evolved sound. This is a hip hop beat session that lovingly intermingled with various schools of art in order to strengthen the core product.

While there is an apparent concept to the tape, these beats are compelling outside of any extra cohesive element. The intro “King of the Jungle” opens with ambient wildlife, interrupted by a pronounced live drum set a slightly ominous organ riff and intruding electronic drone. “Sunrise” alleviates the tension with MPC-style percussion, a vibrant bassline and this icy, phasing sample that flutters the eardrum incessantly. Naanasin’s take on Miami Bass in “Lets Be Free” could not be named any more appropriately, with the nonchalant snare-heavy percussion, disruptive electro and that glorious bass all waxing and waning in charge and intensity.

“The Hunt,” his attempt at a drum & bass style in a hip hop format, is one of the noticeable achievements of the beat-tape. It not only proves the amount of work Nannasin put in to create it within his own artistic design, but also the amount of responsibility he assumes in advancing hip hop as a genre. Sure, this song has a familiar set of tools, with its airy Gothic synths, crispy and lean drum breakdown and deep, guttural bass surging nonstop, but tools mean nothing until they are put to good use.

If anything can be said to its detriment, it might be the lack of an MC willing to spit on such superior and defined production. They might feel intimidated. But the time will come, as “XX” is experimental hip hop in a similar vein to Shabazz Palace’s “Black Up,” striving to break the blinged-out and weed-clouded confines of contemporary hip hop beatmaking for more creative pastures. Hopefully the wait is brief.

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