Nigma is a 20 year old rapper who has a penchant for spitting over intricately styled beats and has found recent strides in cinematic sounds, creating an essence of alternative Hip-Hop. He was born and raised in Rockland County, NY and currently lives in NYC. Fresh off the rack comes Nigma’s 7-track EP in all its leftfield glory, entitled “Moonlit Halos”. When you look at the rap landscape, there’s no-one quite like Nigma – past or present – whether it’s his personality, his lyrics or even his music productions.
He’s revels in contradiction; who defies all traditional hip-hop expectations. Hyper-active, yet somber, he draws inspiration from a wide range of influences. Most importantly, he seems to want to make music that lasts, concerned that audiences nowadays simply want party anthems.
Unafraid to sit down and really focus, creativity over ambition seems to be Nigma’s motto. Sure, he’s capable of making those party anthems, but they’re party anthems loaded with so much more than just tales of drinking, smoking, blowjobs and pills.
Compared to the many trap records these days that try to be weird but end up sounding pretty uniform and boring, “Moonlit Halos” brisk insularity — 7 tracks, with only one going over the four-minute mark and another over the five-minute mark — feels not only genuinely diverse, but pretty eclectic too, and eclectic-ness isn’t something we get much of, even in experimental hip-hop.
The raps are at a peak here, but it’s the beats on the album that you also consistently sink your ears into, and maybe with the exception of “Light (HTML)”, which I didn’t particularly like, there aren’t any weak cuts here.
Right from the start, on “Shadow Intro”, you’ll know that Nigma’s going to be taking you into some really cavernous and disturbed sonic territory: The effect of all those contrasts ends up creepy because though the mood is uniformly anxious, it seems like it’s just going to keep flowing over you like molasses.
He doesn’t have to follow any of the rules that major label artists are forced to treat as law. He is lawless, erratic, and full of surprises. That’s what makes this release so exciting, I don’t think anyone truly knows what to expect, and even the wildest imagination will likely appear humdrum in comparison.
The most disappointing decision that Nigma could ever make with his music would be to normalize himself. As long as he’s embracing the strange, embodying himself, he will always be more interesting than most.
“Moonlit Halos” remains coherent and cohesive because Nigma maintains the same atmosphere and tone throughout. And although doing so makes this EP much more fulfilling as a whole, it also doesn’t place tighter restrictions on each individual track, allowing songs like “The Darkness” and “EYE AM” to work brilliantly within the confines of this record.
The Rockland County native not only elevates his lyricism, but also compliments said lyricism with atmospheric production and distinct flows that accentuate everything he’s saying. In fact, Nigma has the cheat code for infinite flows, either riding with or fighting against his beats.
ESSENTIAL TRACKS: “Fences / The Gate”, “All This Love” and “Lazarus Outro”