Even though they are similarly named, Nobody is not to be confused for the Knobody that produced hits for Jay-Z, Akon and Big Pun among others, NOR the equally similarly named member of the Hieroglyphics crew. The fact that two of the three are known for their instrumentals doesn’t help. This specific Nobody is somebody born Elvin Estela though, and he’s often associated with underground L.A. rap artists like 2Mex, Busdriver and Abstract Rude among others. The people he works with have forged their own path outside of rap’s commercial lane and Nobody has proudly done the same.
One could even say that his 2005 album “And Everything Else…” isn’t a rap album at all. I wouldn’t fight that argument but I would still say it’s hip-hop whether or not it’s rap music. You won’t find any rapping here, but you’ll find the same kind of audio pastiche that informs the works of Cut Chemist, DJ Shadow and Prince Paul. There’s a rich history of sampling in hip-hop that pulls from both well known and completely unknown sources, blending those sounds with software and hardware, and creating imaginative new works completely different from the originals. I can’t begin to tell you all the elements that went into “Tilljem’s Forrest,” or why it’s spelled with two R’s when it actually makes me think of a pleasant forest stroll with one R, but this is definitely good music to listen to outdoors.
It could be “Forrest” like Gump, although how that would belong to Tilljem would only be more confusing and not less. There definitely seems to be a proper names thing going on with certain tracks though, like the emphatically punctuated “Jose De La Rues!!!” I don’t think that many exclamation marks are necessary nor do they fit the track, because like “Tilljem’s Forrest” this one is super chill. Even though Nobody is somebody when working with rappers, I don’t want to hear any on this beat. It’s a refreshingly cold and slightly tart glass of lemonade on a warm sunny day.
Not every producer lets you into their mind state on solo works, but with song titles like “Wake Up and Smell the Millennium” Nobody’s personality shines as bright as his music. It’s clear he intends to advance multiple things here including his style, the scope of what rap and hip-hop can be, and the minds of the people listening. It’s mesmerizing to sit back and listen to the change ups every now and then, and a pleasant slap to the face when he abandons them for a fast repeating note only to come 360 back to where he started then change up AGAIN. He juggles all of his different musical ideas in his head in a way that’s only understood by him, but with the aid of his techniques (and possibly Technics) he’s able to translate them into audio for the rest of us.
Even when he has a musical guest it’s not a singer or a lyricist but another musician/producer, such as with Prefuse 73 on “Tori Oshi.” The song’s name once again betrays Nobody’s intent to push the envelope as the collaboration fuses both Western and Eastern elements into a cohesive whole.
That’s essentially what “And Everything Else…” is all about. Nobody fuses all of the elements that surround him, inspire him, and help him shape melodies for other people but flips all of that on its ear to make them strictly for himself. By the time the presentation wraps up with “The All Golden Fronts” it’s clear there’s no frontin’ or cappin’ about Nobody. He could have just as easily called this album “Everything Else and Then Some” but like the song titles I’m not questioning his choices — I’m just enjoying the funky diversity of styles and sounds on display. Like Q-Tip once said Nobody’s album is full of vibes and stuff.