Nems has had a few bad breaks trying to get “Prezident’s Day” out in stores. Originally this album would have dropped around the time Barack Obama was voted into office on Psycho+Logical Records, but due to what his current label describes as “situations beyond Nems’ control” the P+L people shelved his CD. There’s clearly some industry rule number 4080 politics going on here but Creative Juices Music won’t get any more specific than that. It’s left to your imagination whether Nems went R.A. the Rugged Man on his label or the label went K.M.D.’s “Black Bastards” on him. Either way Nems has spent the last two years touring and promoting an album’s worth of music that couldn’t even be found in stores, but at long last Creative Juices received the key to unlock the vaults and release “Prezident’s Day” to the masses.
So who/what is Nems? He’s a MTV Fight Klub champion, he’s the founder of a New York rap crew called Fuck Your Lyfe, and according to his album’s artwork his name can mean everything from “Naturally Evil Mind State” to “Never Equal My Skills.” Listening to his flow on “Prezident’s Day” it’s not hard to see how he originally ended up with Necro’s imprint. His vocal tone would fit ideally into an all-star track side by side with Ill Bill, Sabac and Goretex. Nems has a rugged, dirty and unapologetically NY gritty style – think the aforementioned Rugged Man mixed with the punchlines of M.O.P. or Thirstin Howl III. Nems drops a relentless series of firearms, profanity and offensiveness on songs like “Jesus Christ.”
“Whattup cousin? Let me smoke somethin, make me poke somethin
Hit and run, fingers numb from the coke cuttin
Police come? I don’t know nuttin!
Run up in your crib, let me hold somethin; met your wife hoe huntin
I’m on the road to stuntin – nigga and you bitchin up
They call me Mr. Clean – the way I wash niggaz up
Slap a nigga quick, bust a nigga shit
I’m the king at robbin niggaz – they should call me Crown Vick
You don’t know me! Five texts direct from Coney
Have your boss coppin pleas – like Frank cryin to Tony
Get shanked, lyin, you phony – REALLY, you don’t want it
If we was locked, I’d have yo’ ass blew for a pack of 100’s
My crew laughin and blunted, come through clappin and gunnin
Catch brains in new V’s (ooh-WEE) crash it, it’s nothin
I get cash in abundance, dumb hashes and dutches
Sick, stick my dick in your chick ass, she love it
(Jesus Christ!) When I hit you you’ll see (Jesus Christ)
Oh yeah, that’s right, your money or your wife
Take my advice son it ain’t nuttin nice
You’ll say (Jesus Christ!)”
The line that might best exemplify Nems is “you can fuck around and get pissed on just because I’m pissed off.” This album isn’t just parental discretion advised, it’s super thugged out prescribed. This is one of those hip-hop albums where you can actually hazard a guess at the sound of a song just by the title – the Severside produced “Hardbody Guttah Shit” is dirty and heavy as you’d expect. It’s very rare that Nems lightens the mood or gets reflective, but Nom gives him a mellow beat to ponder his life on “My Own Worst Enemy” where he says “I’d be Wayne Gretzky if rap was hockey/but I’m more like Barry Bonds, arrogant and cocky.” DJ Insite’s “Faceless” is pure church organs and vitriol, the ideal hip-hop to haunt your Halloween next year (or any year after). Nems is clearly a fan of acronyms besides his album outwork, as he drops songs like “N.E.M.S. F.Y.L.” and “GFY” – and if you don’t know what the latter stands for this album isn’t for you.
As much as I appreciate the swagger and confidence Nems displays, and his good breath control and delivery on the M-I-C, it’s hard to get away from the fact this album is uber dark and heavy track after track. There’s no question he’s got crude, nasty and funny punchlines by the dozens. “I’m hotter than runnin in summer wearin two flannels, and I’m hungry like Somalians watchin the Food Channel” is just one of many examples on “Faceless,” let alone the other 15 tracks on “Prezident’s Day.” At some point one has to ask the question though – what is the ultimate goal for Nems? If it’s to be the most brutal emcee in NYC he’s got plenty of comp, and if it’s to be the punchline king he’s got hundreds of rappers from NY to LA and everywhere in between to knock off first. When it comes to not giving a fuck he’s as brutal and heavy as Melbourne’s own Maundz, with the difference being that the Aussie laced up his ugly words with some beautiful beats to keep you listening. “Prezident’s Day” is good in bite sized doses, but after an entire hour you almost wish he’d go against the grain and do a pop record for the clubs. Nems is undoubtedly keeping it real and props to him for that but sometimes that much reality goes right beyond street cinema straight to a bit depressing.