River Nelson’s debut album is an infectious, socially conscious yet upbeat effort that recalls the work of British rapper Ty and Chicago’s Common.
“You’re gonna hear some original black poetry” begins the album, before launching into ‘Always Winter’, a ditty which could be as much about London as it is about the harsh Brooklyn winter. ‘Hold On’ and ‘Beautiful Life’ contain hopeful messages (“It’s a f***ed up world but a beautiful day”), a thread of positivity that runs throughout the album.
‘Unbeatable Foe’ stands out thanks to the addition of a melancholy Indian sitar, while on ‘Moonrise’ Nelson shows his more whimsical side. ‘Man’ is full of reproaches (“Man is thirsty for love/But scared to take a swig/He’d rather be a dog/Way more than a kid”), and he follows this up with the explicit ‘Women’, a similar lament on the hopelessness of man when confronted with the fairer sex.
Nelson’s honest lyrics capture the highs and lows of modern life, but in a feel-good fashion. “I wanted to make a hip hop album that will make people feel good about themselves and life in general, despite its hardships” he said of its making. We reckon he’s achieved it.
The Rise and Fall of River Nelson is out on 2nd of August on The World of Dusty Vinyl