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Nappy Nappa’s recently released EP, Machine Boy, is built from a relationship of trust and mutual appreciation between the artist and producers. The beauty of that connection is exposed through the five songs, each by a different producer—Tooth Choir, DJ Disk, Tonto, Moses, and ricthesupersonic. Having their own artistry and style, the producers represent Nappa in five unique ways, showcasing his ability of not only flowing into each new space with ease, but also telling of his enormous respect for each producer’s vision.
Machine Boy begins by luring Nappa’s tender voice into a state of manipulation in “Narrow Gates,” and ends with “Cybrsavior,” exposing the nakedness of Nappa’s romantic whispers. The contrast between each track is a beautiful expression of being in the moment, allowing Nappa to travel and expand as an artist.
“Narrow Gates” is produced by Julian Oliver of Tooth Choir, who has a solo project under the same name. “I know that Nappa is going to give me the space to truly create,” Oliver tells City Paper. “Whatever I come up with he trusts, and he will find a way to complement it perfectly.”
The two have been working together for several years and “Narrow Gates” shows Tooth Choir’s growth as a producer. Oliver says he’s bettered his craft thanks, in part, to his sessions with Nappa. While he enjoys being a supporting player in a collaboration, he believes Machine Boy’s opening track is the first time in a while where the song feels like a Tooth Choir production.
Tosser frontman Eric Zidar, of ricthesupersonic, produced “Cybrsavior,” made right before the EP’s release. Nappa says the track really brought the original idea for the EP, which formed in 2016, back to life and perfectly rounded out the album. This final track accentuates a vulnerability in lyrics and tone that is comforting. The opening lyrics: “Tired, inspired, burn’ng en this fy’r but I’m not dy’ng” are amplified by the way Zidar lifts the softness of Nappa’s voice to be heard loudly.
Zidar says he’s always made beats and has been collaborating with friends for the past three years, but only started seriously producing music as ricthesupersonic for the past year and half. The work he’s done with Nappa is the only music he’s released to date under this moniker. Both Zidar and Nappa describe their process as “organic,” dating back to when the two first met in 2018. Zidar works on a beat from scratch while Nappa starts writing to it—often Nappa will record vocals before the track is finished, allowing Zidar to shape the beat around Nappa’s “rhythmic flow and clever lyrics,” says Zidar.
Nappa’s vision for the album dates back to 2016, when he wrote the lyrics for “Police Deez” and the name of the album. The title, Machine Boy, implies a constant churning of creating to the point of being robotic. The album, however, took five years to come to fruition. To the chagrin of the EP’s title, there is no theme, it is simply five different versions of Nappa, an artist that is not confined to time, space, or pressures of being labeled.
In a world that seems to be moving faster and faster, Machine Boy provides us with a soundtrack for taking our time and waiting for the moment when it feels right. It’s a lovely concept for an EP that delights us at each turn, while also uncovering the integral bond between a producer and the artist.
Listen and download Nappy Nappa’s Machine Boy EP via bandcamp. $10 to purchase.