Nutso released his debut album #RedSunday.
The album begins with its thesis as presented by Snoop Dogg: “Everything that gangsta rap was built on is what’s happening right now. You can’t reinvent the wheel, you just gotta figure out which lane to take.” Nutso isn’t trying to reinvent the wheel but the album doesn’t pander by featuring nothing but old hip-hop heads. There are some like Kool G. Rap and Cormega, but there are also plenty of youths like Kon Boogie, Twin Gambino and many others, not to mention Nutso himself. That being said, you don’t start an album out with the hip-hop doggfather followed by a guest appearance by a hip-hop godfather (KGR) unless you want to make a statement. And that statement is this: we are going to have thumping beats, great lyricism and absolutely zero sing-rapping.
I can’t pretend like I’m not biased. This is my hip-hop. Nutso, who according to his website released four projects in 2013, doesn’t appear to be very old and yet he’s channeling the old school hip-hop that many of us miss. On songs like “Scrappin” Nutso barks out his street cred; is it that much different than what his peers are sing-rapping? In content it’s fairly similar to the braggadocio that has always been in hip-hop. What sets it apart from much of the current modern rap is that Nutso’s flow and voice manage to sound like 90s MCs without sounding outdated.
Aside from bragging, Nutso also gives a portrayal of his life growing up in Queens. “Life in the City” takes the listener around New York City with guest appearances from Tragedy Khadafi, Craig G and Robb P. Several of the songs point out that violence is a necessary mode growing up in a place like Flushing, Queens. The hook from “Catchin Wreck” samples Nas and Notorious B.I.G. to reinforce this theme.
At a certain point Nutso’s talk of violence can be repetitive. Each of the first four tracks features lines in which Nutso is shooting people for no reason, cracking someone in the head or just generally being that dude that you don’t want to mess with. On “Brutal Sadistic” the first line of the song talks about putting rusty screwdrivers in eyelids (it gets worse from there). More than once the album warns people against mistaking kindness for weakness. Basically, Nutso wants you to know that he isn’t the guy who walks your grandmother across the street. Or maybe he is, but he’s also the guy that hits you with a bus while you’re crossing the street.
Violent though it may be, the album still manages to have appeal. Nutso summarizes his charm on “Don’t Test My Crown” when he says that what he does is “sophisticated, hardcore rap.” In that sense it’s not unlike film director Kevin Smith’s highbrow smut. If what you want is old-school-sounding hip-hop in all of its chest-beating glory, than Nutso has some tracks for you. Otherwise you can get back to your sing-rapping.
The album was produced by hip-hop veteran Domingo. Domingo has been producing since age 17 when he made tracks for Marly Marl. That should tell you all you need to know about this album’s old school pedigree.
The album came out January 6, 2017. It’s available for purchase here or you can stream it on Spotify. Give it a listen today.