A Unique Freshman Effort from Chicago’s Latest Find
In the contemporary environment of genre blending and musical collision, Nnamdi Ogbonnaya has found an avenue yet untraveled.
DROOL functions as a definite benchmark in Ogbonnaya’s burgeoning music career — after a laundry list of mixtapes and demos posted to his Bandcamp artist page, Ogbonnaya’s latest record is not only the first to gain label distribution, but also seemingly the first to take itself seriously as a piece of art. Landing somewhere on the musical spectrum between TV on the Radio and Danny Brown, Nnamdi Ogbonnaya has taken his training and background as a math rock drummer and absurdist underground rapper and produced DROOL, an album dominated by lyrical variance, nuanced programming and layered vocals.
Such a unique musical voice is an exhilarating find in an artist as young as Ogbonnaya. However, while DROOL sets an interesting benchmark, the record nonetheless sounds more like a mixtape than a fully formed “album,” at times either incomprehensible or incoherent. It is true that stark contrast is a notable feature throughout, with songs like “dOn’t turn me Off” laying jarringly against the social awareness of others like “N0TICE;” however, Ogbonnaya has yet to harness the maturity of polished transition and unity, the greatest detriment to the record.
A self-proclaimed “avant-pop” artist, Ogbonnaya is not primarily concerned in catering to the hip-hop audience at large. That being said, the primary facet that DROOL lacks is this very allure: the lyrics are frequently unintelligible, there is seldom a “hook” to draw the listener in, and the songs are similar enough in sonic hue and production technique to blend in retrospect. For a freshman effort, though, Ogbonnaya offers a fascinating approach and artistic voice. It’s only a matter of time before we see how these sounds are honed and transmuted into a sophomore release.