Worcester, Massachusetts rapper Quite Nyce has been on his grind for the better part of a decade, much of it as one-half of the duo RADix, and to kick off 2011 he unveiled a new solo album, “The D.O.N. LP,” for free download. Although Quite Nyce’s name doesn’t turn heads the world over, he’s quietly gained commensurate respect in the Boston underground which should be enough reason alone to check out a full-blown LP of his for free-ninety-nine. Clocking in at just under 40 minutes and featuring production from DJ Trusty, JL, Dox, and GMJ, it may prove just the push he needs to reach the next level.
Quite Nyce isn’t the sort of rapper who wows you upon first listen. He sports an articulate flow and an old-school East Coast approach to his music, with a penchant for sturdy, solid beats and straightforward rhymes. He is, however, very good at what he does, and by exploring different territory throughout “The D.O.N. LP” proves a versatile MC as well. His rhyme schemes are often fairly unorthodox in structure, and the heavy “React” kicks off the album, featuring heady, rugged verses over a thumping, horn-laden DJ Trusty track. “This Is My Life” follows in suit, with a clever beat courtesy of Dox and a personal take from Quite Nyce, and “Some Get It Some Don’t” furthers his manifesto.
“I Admit” is the standout, a simply irresistible exercise in nostalgia that should warrant extensive use of the repeat button. Dox’s lovably funky lick incorporates a sweet, sunny guitar line and chiming bells, and Quite Nyce’s simple hook fits brilliantly:
“Ups and downs in the turbulence, I know it’s sick, but I love it
Just knowin’ she cares enough to shed tears and break stuff
Then we make up, her makeup stainin’ the sheets
She’s sayin’ to me, ‘Jaquaine you’re curlin’ my feet’
Somethin’ ’bout her innocence, in it I find comfort
Restin’ my head on her chest, real life poetry
Makin’ our own rules, her friends think she’s a fool
For messin’ with a brother so cool, just minimal hate
She knows when I lie just by lookin’ at my face
Nothin’ escapes, but she waits for me to grow
For me to show the man that I am in due time
Hopin’ mine doesn’t run out before we sprout together
Funny how relationships are defined by a moment engrained
Prob’ly pain, proverbial frame around the picture
And how you felt when she said, ‘Baby, I miss ya'”
The sentimental vibes continue on the deep “All in the Name Of,” where Quite Nyce chronicles the struggle and sacrifice people endure in the name of love, hip hop, and each other. The honest introspection is welcome and transmits brightly via his conversational delivery, providing a well-conceived counter to the first half’s heavier, straightforward material and showing an MC far more multi-dimensional than first glance might indicate. The frantic “A Million Pieces” finds him desperate after a breakup, and the smooth “When the Sky Falls” evokes vivid imagery like an old scrapbook as Quite Nyce strings together an artistic verse with his whimsical, unconventional rhyme scheme:
“Believe I’m thankful for every move bestowed upon
We all holdin’ on, but some holdin’ arms
What is it that attracts like magnets on the fridge holdin’ up your first A?
First grade ’til your first day locked down
Silver spoons and rusty forks, we all eat
Sittin’ around, some dads ain’t livin’ around their seeds
Uprooted, now they grown up
You wanna show up, too little too late
The bed is how you made it so lay down
Imagine dying alone, now imagine growing as a man on your own
Facing the cold outside
Sometimes you just wanna fly away ’cause a better day may await
‘Cause when the sky falls on your face, gotta change your pace
Don’t race to the end”
“Fight Back” is upbeat and motivational, while the closer “For My People” is one of the most appealing of all, with a lush, soulful backing and humble bars dedicated to loved ones.
All told Quite Nyce may be a tad too ordinary to hang with the great rap dons, and “The D.O.N. LP” is ultimately a bit raw. Still, there’s something about the way he goes about his craft that makes him darn likable. With only eleven tracks, two of which are instrumentals, he flashes both heartfelt accounts and well-executed edgier material over consistently good production. He’s got a knack for sentimental, feel-good music, and “The D.O.N. LP” is by all means worth the hard drive space of a free download, even if it just serves as an appetizer for RADix’s upcoming album produced entirely by Statik Selektah. While Quite Nyce doesn’t amaze at every turn, his solid, unpolished mechanics and charm result in a product that is nothing if not quite nice.