New Orleans artist NYKOBANDZ began rapping back in college in Atlanta, but has since developed a distinctive brand and sound that is a slick mix of melodic bounce and trap sounds. Inspired by industry notables like Lil’ Wayne and 2 Chainz, he describes his unique sound as ‘Sauce’. Running through his catalog of songs it’s clear that NYKOBANDZ never comes off as insecure, even when he’s fitting into the tighter boxes of his blend of trap-rap.
He maintains his weird. But it’s also worth asking if he would ever be willing to sacrifice some of his eccentricities in any type of march towards mainstream stardom.
His latest, “Ride With Me” seems anything but a potential crack in his armor. He may sound more understated and controlled but he still hangs onto his own brand of vivid lyricism that has defined some of the greatest moments in his songs.
It’s a testament to NYKOBANDZ that even when he’s painting by numbers on a fairly straight track that he can sound carefree and loose. He is a singular artist whose aesthetic is at once indefinable and all-encompassing, somebody who revels in eccentricity but with an authenticity that means his artistic choices are hard to question.
What is immediately evident on “Ride With Me” even more than his previous mind-bending performances is the vocal polyphony that he employs. Lyrically, the track doesn’t break any new ground, but everything is so rooted in the cosmic surrealism of his vocal delivery that they virtually cease to matter.
It would be easy to say NYKOBANDZ just makes trap music, given that his beats usually fit within that sphere, but to do so would be to discount the incredible things he does with his voice.
The production on “Ride With Me” is surprisingly strong. Subtle piano twinkles mix with a thick muted bass and aggressive hi-hats, and though each stem is a part of a greater aesthetic whole, they proudly stand on their own.
NYKOBANDZ is his own man and in “Ride With Me” he has produced another track of creative confidence and musical intrigue. It easily matches the heights of his previous releases and explores trap’s outer limits while remaining tonally cogent and vocally distinctive. All-in-all this track is extremely easy to listen to.