Album Review: Nacho Picasso / Blue Sky Black Death – Lord of The Fly

Posted: April 2, 2012 in Album Review, Best of 1st Q 2012, Hip Hop
Tags: , , , , ,

“Phantom of the Opera”

The production duo known as Blue Sky Black Death (BSBD) has been a mainstay on the independent hip hop scene for over half a decade now.   While they’ve certainly worked with some of the more underappreciated-yet-talented independent hip hop artists like Jus Allah, Holocaust, Hell Razah, and Jean Grae, they had not brought an emcee into the fold more permanently until recently to really develop as an in-house artist.  That seems to have changed recently as Seattle’s Nacho Picasso has now put together two albums with them in the span of six months.  While his style and voice are both unusual, most emcees who make something of themselves have distinctive voices and personas, and Nacho already has both, in spades.

Whereas Nacho Pichasso’s debut with BSBD, For the Glory, certainly had more variety in subject matter and hints of a personal touch from Picasso, covering topics like his comic book knowledge (“Marvel“), extensive personal tattooing (“Sweaters“), (lack of) influences (“Walkman”), and gangsta pedigree (“100 G’s”), Lord of the Fly is almost completely stripped of the shreds of humanity Nacho had previously expressed.  If Lord of the Fly provides any personal insight it is generally couched in either grandeur or outright absurdity.  When you combine this with BSBD’s glossiest and futuristic soundscape to date, the album plays like a dystopian cinematic work of speculative fiction marrying elements of Clockwork Orange, Bladerunner, Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas, and Alfie. If For the Glory painted the picture of an eccentric, if not a bit nerdy, self-interested thug Lothario, then Lord of the Fly deifies Nacho, crowning him king of a nihilistic society on a planet of Barbarellas.

For the uninitiated, Nacho Picasso’s voice evokes a treacherous evil minion cartoon character (Smeagol or Starscream come to mind) – too nasally and devious to befit an archetypal super-villain.  Nacho has a snide overconfidence on the mic, accentuated by his dispassionate delivery, he tilts his braggadocio beyond the grandiose toward the absurd.  From the opening cut “Rammin'” to the closing “Maintain,” it’s difficult to discern Nacho’s motivation beyond sexual encounters, drug experiences, and dismissing and devaluing all else.  Nacho’s disinterest approaches nihilistic levels in his lyricism, where he seems mildly amused by his own wit and prowess, but does not seem motivated by any sort of goal or defined end game.  While “Greek God,” and “Tutankhamen,” and individual verses throughout the album offer Nacho the lens to geek out, referencing mythological fables and a trivial pursuit-ish historical pop culture knowledge base, this technique only expands on Picasso’s fantastical nature, whereas similarly designed tracks “Marvel,” and “Sweaters” seemed more like novel asides on For the Glory.  That distinction is important because it represents growth of both Nacho as an emcee, and the relationship he’s built with Kingston and Young God of BSBD – ultimately leading to a more seemless and enduring product.

It’s tough to evaluate the potential Nacho has in terms of mass appeal, as his dedication to his eccentricities will certainly garner him a cult following, but could possibly cap the growth of his fan base.  “Staring At The Sun” is one of his most promising records in terms of wider appeal, as BSBD provide Nacho with one of their grandest and sleekest beats to date, and Nacho Picasso is up to the task, dropping witty lines and crafting a melodic hook.  “Lost Boys,” “On a B*tch,” and “Fight Bill,” all show hints of similar promise as well, but still manage to fit neatly within the overall scheme of the album. The lack of guest appearances also help with the continuity on the album, as Nacho holds down all thirteen tracks by himself, an extremely uncommon feat in itself in this era.

While some may point out Nacho’s lack of depth and self-examination as a major fault of the record, the reality is that introspection would’ve detracted from the glossy detachment of the album.  While self-analysis may represent growth as an artist for Picasso, he has to balance that with the value of maintaining the style he’s fostered and developed over the last two albums, as well as his preceeding body of work.

Lord of the Fly expands on the promise of For the Glory, and in a very short timeframe Nacho Picasso and Blue Sky Black Death have capitalized on their recording partnership to create the most relevant hip hop record any of them have been involved with to date.  They have managed to put out an album with filmic qualities, creating an otherworldly sonic opus that will hold value for years to come.

 “Staring At The Sun”

Both of Blue Sky Black Death & Nacho Picasso’s albums are available for free download on his website, as is a copy of radio edits of some of his best tracks from both album for any DJs interested in putting their work on the air.

Comments
  1. […] Album Review: Nacho Picasso / Blue Sky Black Death – Lord of The Fly Archives […]

  2. […] Mike’s R.A.P. Music, Big K.R.I.T.’s 4Eva N a Day, Nacho Picasso & BSBD’s Lord of the Fly, and Young L’s Enigma Theory are all are the product of one producer’s (or production […]

  3. […] collaborations can be downloaded off of Nacho’s Bandcamp page.  You can read my review of Lord of the Fly and stream all of the albums if you like before downloading, the first two were free.  Exalted is […]

  4. […] 10. Nacho Picasso & Blue Sky Black Death – Lord of the Fly […]

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s