||Hip-hop is an art form and culture that is constantly changing. Musically
speaking, new technology and the latest trends have a very real influence
on the records released from year to year. It’s easy to get caught up in
the pop culture hype machine and triplet beats that currently dominate
rap. Trends come and go, but the proven elements of hip-hop music will
continue to be relevant for years to come. For instance, MC’s that spit
ferocious bars over dusty, head-splitting beats will never go out of style.
Enter Detroit’s Nolan The Ninja and his latest record, YEN. Released on
DJ Soko’s imprint, Left Of Center (LOC), YEN picks up where Nolan’s
earlier projects left off.
Nolan, who has been gaining momentum in Detroit and beyond,
continues to demonstrate his ability to rip a microphone. Underneath
Nolan’s agile delivery is an element of storytelling that is sometimes
lost in rap. From Nolan’s rhymes to guest appearances by Blu, Add-2,
Denmark Vessey, and Quelle Chris, there is no shortage of heavy bars
on YEN. “Calisthenics,” which features Royce Da 5’9, is an exceptional
track that showcases Royce’s talent and lyrical depth. With stand out
production from Black Milk, 14KT, Chanes, Denmark Vessey, Scud One,
and Nolan himself, YEN is 17 tracks of non-stop heat that creates the
perfect backdrop for Nolan’s strong delivery.
While certain trends in hip-hop move one way, it’s clear that Nolan The
Ninja is content going the other direction. His new album isn’t reliant on
catchy hooks, trap beats or the glorifcation of party culture. Instead, YEN
is a combination of heavy bars and head-splitting beats that accurately
re?ects Nolan’s perspective and life experiences. YEN exemplifes the
type of music that will remain relevant even after the current trends have
faded and something new becomes popular.