After all, Nacho isn’t a terrible rapper. He just isn’t a terribly good one.
“Extraordinarily wavy” is one way to describe Seattle rapper Nacho Picasso’s newest collaborative album with fellow Seattle-based Electronic Hip-Hop duo Blue Sky Black Death titled Stoned & Dethroned, released earlier this year on heavyweight producer Harry Fraud’s Surf School Recordings label. The album begins with promising plunky arpeggiated synths paired with eccentric nu-trap drum patterns that build a strong platform for Nacho’s promotion of one of America’s favourite past times: Cocaine. All is well leading into the verse but Nacho becomes a shell of his own bars from the previous verse. Although he’s technically always rhyming and pieces together punchlines, Nacho’s constant reliance on drug references and uncomfortably blatant misogyny makes him come off less like your cool older brother and more like your creepy weirdo uncle lurking a high school party.
As the tape progresses, it becomes clear that Nacho is not reinventing the wheel nor does he have any intention of trying to. Songs like “Bastard In A Basket”, “Mouth Full of Gold” and “Ghost” find Nacho at his best repeating catchy hooks but quickly loses momentum by the middle of the next verse. Fortunately for the listener, the beats composed by Blue Sky Black Death compensate for Picasso’s lethargic lyricism by painting a leaned-out landscape of groaning basslines, chipper hi-hats and mysterious ambience. At some point, part of me wished Stoned and Dethroned was released as a BSBD beat tape rather than squeezing another drop out of a lemon that’s lost its juice.
As the concluding “Nacho’s Blues” rings out, I’m flushed with a feeling of relief. As a first time listener of both Nacho Picasso and Blue Sky Black Death, their fourth collaborative project Stoned & Dethroned seems a little sloppy and slapped together. Though the beats are all very thoughtful and blaring, the production on Stoned & Dethroned doesn’t meld together quite like an album should but at the same time, the blame can’t be placed entirely on them. After all, Nacho isn’t a terrible rapper, he just isn’t a terribly good one.
Words by L-SPEX