A little over 7 years after their last album Nothing, Virginia funk-rock band N*E*R*D are returning with their 5th full-length album. The opener “Lemon” talks about hate while making a bunch of political references over an hyphy beat & Pharrell’s performance is super catchy, but Rihanna blatantly rips off Cardi B in her rap verse that it’s painfully underwhelming. The next song “Deep Down Body Thrust” tells all the choke artists that they won’t get away over a funk rock instrumental kin to the band’s 2004 sophomore album Fly or Die. The track “Voila” with Wale sees the 2 getting motivational over a funky guitar, but then it transitions into something more tropical during Wale’s verse. However, I’m a little disappointed Gucci Mane only does the hook.
The song “1,000” may have a decent Future verse in the middle of it, Pharrell & Shay Haley make up for it with their energetically delivered braggadocio lyrics. Also, the beat is thumping! Especially the drop a little bit after the 2 minute mark. The track “Don’t Do It” speaks on police brutality over a mellow instrumental & the Kendrick Lamar verse fits in perfectly. The song “ESP” touches down on the 3rd eye over a video-gamey beat & while the track “Lightning Fire Magic Prayer” continues the spirituality theme from the last song over an instrumental that fits the vibe. Especially during the switch up during the second half.
The song “Rollinem 7’s” with André 3000 vents about being black men in the entertainment industry/modern American society over a trippy beat while “Kites” with Kendrick & M.I.A. talks about unity over a bouncy dance beat. The penultimate track “Secret Life of Tigers” gets rebellious over another infectious dance beat & then the album closes with “Lifting You”, which is a positive celebratory weed anthem over a fitting reggae beat.
Honestly, this could very well be my Album of the Year. It’s well produced, the vocals are on point & it’s their most well-written since Fly or Die