Nomads is a powerful statement from the duo of LA rapper XP and Queens, NY producer IceRocks, in the form of timeless hip-hop. The slick, sharp lyricism captures the essence of XP’s ascension as an artist, as he’s making his proper debut with this project after years spent performing and dropping smaller releases. And his talents are matched perfectly by his New York brethren, who flips dusty samples into straight-up incredible instrumentals.
With 15 tracks to flaunt their talents, the duo wastes no time getting right to it with opening banger “Rain Dance.” As church organs and huge drums fill the background, XP spits rewind-worthy lines like, “I’m praying to God I can enjoy it before he take me/ I’m-a keep, laying this jewelry down on breakbeats/ I make feats.” It’s that mix of self-awareness and clever bravado over raw instrumentals that makes the entire record so immediately satisfying.
In addition to religion, you also get bits of XP’s life as a Mexican-American man, his struggles, and the ups and downs of being a single father. Those stories permeate through the many standouts on Nomads, including the Wu-reminiscent “Shrunken Heads (feat. Supreme Cerebral),” the soulful and celebratory “YGB,” and the cinematic closing raps of “Open Doors (feat. Roc Marciano).”
The centerpiece of Nomads, however, is the lead single “Ashtray,” a wonderfully produced track where XP pulls you in with his engaging storytelling. And it’s only fitting that it received the music video treatment from Kwervo, who envisions our narrator as a wealthy don and puts a high-definition spin on the otherwise minimalist track. The song itself also encapsulates what makes these two such a formidable duo musically, a point that they both brought up when talking about the other’s sound.
As XP explains, “IceRocks’ style is like a river over a cascading waterfall—very majestic and natural—but still captures the essence that classic New York Boom bap.” The producer had similarly kind words for his rapping partner, “XP’s style is fierce yet smooth and transcends coastal barriers. He might be from LA, but just by listening you might think he’s from NYC.” It’s a valid point that embodies the feeling of Nomads and how it transcends location or any preconceived notions.
Nomads is available now through all major DSPs via IceRock’s own label, DXA Records. Also, be sure to check out the visual for “Ashtray”, which premiered last month!
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