I was first introduced to Nut-Rageous almost a year ago with the single “Wat’s Poppin” featuring KL from Screwball. My commentary certainly painted a positive picture of the aspiring MC on his first go-round: “It’s refreshing to play an unsolicited single and hear something unpretentious and toe-tapping for a change. Ron Mills’ produced the track, DJ Premier mixed it, and Nutrageous rapped snaps to it with his friend KL for the hell of it.”
Sadly “Wat’s Poppin” is not included on Nut’s short five track EP “The Red Zone,” but it’s good to see that Nut-Rageous has maintained his unpretentious and refreshing lyrical style. Right off the bat “Cruisin’ in NYC” sets a cool vibe for what’s to come with a track where the bass provides a smooth backdrop and the melody is light and airy with a tinkling bell style. This might sound soft at first but it’s definitely the kind of cool jazz you’d hear if Pete Rock and DJ Premier collaborated. Nut’s rap is nostalgic and affectionate without being apologetic for the day-to-day New York reality of life:
“Cold summers, hot winters
Gangsters posted up on the block in New York
Crossin the Bridge I see graffiti on the wall
Murals of dead gangsters who had it all
I love New York, you can smell the pollution
Just left Hunts Point, that morning rush, prostitution
But now it’s back to Queens, where the fiends nick each other
And let the D’s know who we B
So we picked up shorty, 10:30 in the morning
She coked up, drinkin 40’s
Regular life of a New Yorker”
Things move smoothly from this joint into “Da Lounge,” a throwback 1990’s track with a cool piano backdrop and a heavy dose of turntablism. The Notorious B.I.G. sample in the hook might be cliche based on the song title but it’s nonetheless just as appreciated as the Grand Puba and InI cuts. Underground hip-hop comedy don Lord Sear makes a guest appearance on “Open Mic Session” setting the stage for Nut to rap about inviting honies on stage to “put [this] mic, up in your MySpace/or in your Facebook, now do it taste good?” The freestyle snaps and well mastered track are just right, so even the line “don’t make me Chris Brown ya” comes across as humerous and not offensive.
The EP wraps all too suddenly with the slow-paced narrative “Bitch Look @ Me” and the internationally flavored “Across the Atlantic,” but Nut gets all the props in the world for five songs that proves he’s “not a backpack rapper” even though their fans may enjoy his work the most. Nut-Rageous sounds and feels like a rapper on the verge of something big, and depending on who he politics with and how many tours he does, you may be hearing a lot more from him in the next year. On the other hand “The Red Zone EP” could fall between the cracks as another one of those hundreds of New York releases that has rap heads scratching their heads a decade later going “Why the hell didn’t he blow up?” It’s hard to say which way Nut’s career will go, but if his beats and rhymes continue to improve from this point forward the sky’s the limit.