The Chicago musician lets people know it’s okay to put themselves first
Every one has moments of selfishness. People often want to do better so they can be the best version of themselves as possible. For Nnamdi Ogbonnaya, who goes by the mononym NNAMDÏ, letting go of the guilt of being selfish was a process he experienced and decided to write about. The Chicago artist came into the music scene with his debut album, Bootie Noir, in 2013. With his name being mentioned in different genres such as hip-hop, math rock and even screamo, it’s no doubt that his hunger for success was evident, especially in his hometown. With his recent release of BRAT, people are able to explore this unsure but ambitious side of the artist.
The opening track, “Flowers To My Demons,” is a dark acoustic track. With a complicated and quick guitar pattern overwhelming the production, the tuned and pitch-shifted vocals glaze over it. Starting off the record with this slow emotion helps further the rest of the record especially with the phrase, “I can be so damn indecisive when it comes to me.” “Bullseye” continues that ideology right off the back by saying, “I’m too selfish to decide/ I’m so self-centered, what do I care?” The song comes in just barely under two minutes and is a whimsical take on a hip-hop track. Almost reminiscent of tracks off Tierra Whack’s, Whack World album.
The rest of the album takes listeners on a musical journey of all the many influences NNAMDÏ has incurred over his lifetime. The album ends on a satisfying note with “It’s OK” and “Salut.” The former has a soft pop feel to it. It kicks it up a notch during the ending of the chorus and pre-chorus. The only words spoken throughout the song are, “There’s no need to pretend you’re okay if you’re not okay/ think you should take time if you gotta take time for you.” In “Salut,” NNAMDÏ speaks to his Lord asking for his prayers to be heard. “If it’s meant to be then it will be” is sung softly multiple times over the same pattern with various instrument melodies adding themselves in.
Being the child of immigrants who hold degrees, one having a double PhD, has its challenges. Despite having a degree in electrical engineering himself, NNAMDÏ felt as if there was still more he could do. The pressure of his childhood only helped further his ambition to become successful and just to allow himself to be creative and do what genuinely makes him happy. BRAT allows people an insight into the struggles of trying to become a better and happier person by being selfish and that it is okay to want better.