Niko Is-Chill Cosby mixtape review
by Dan-O(with strong assist from D.L.)
Once I saw the phrase “Rio de Janeiro-born, Florida-based emcee” used to describe Niko Is on DJ Booth.net I knew that I had to hear his new mixtape, Chill Cosby. I did some backtracking and after listening found his Chill Nye mixtape from February this year (he’s in the midst of a Chillogy in his words). A line in Chill Nye perfectly sets the table for the unhinged preposterousness of Chill Cosby. During a verse Niko remarks that he’s “Getting stoned like Goliath…” stops for a second and then in the sassiest, most comical way he can says “…wassup David?” Using his metaphor he somehow turned himself and Goliath into cool stoners and David into a square. It was a baffling, head shaking moment that sets the table for the wordplay universe of Chill Cosby.
While Chill Nye is a muted affair with many guests Chill Cosby is the opposite. Niko Is only allows Action Bronson to guest this time and it creates one of the best songs on the tape(Steffi Graff). The production makes incredible use of samples, not just Patsy Cline on the song Crazy but Fifi and Smoking Jacket are just as fantastic. The bulk of the tape’s production is handled by Ryen Towers, NZM, and Thanks Joey and they are the ones with the most impressive contributions. It’s not just the samples but the tempo they set, the pace of these beats push Niko to another level. The other half of the production utilizes Yanni level jazz horn samples or simple piano to allow for a deeper rumination. Chilluminate, and Stars fall into this category. The high point from a production standpoint might be Say High to My Friends which feels as fuzzy, exciting, and strange as our narrator. The voice on Say High to My Friends and Voce is Brazillian funk/bossa nova/pop musician Tim Maia. The humor in Maia’s seriousness fits Chill Cosby and its narrator in a very concious way. The Spanish language chorus and the orchestration might have you jamming out without knowing it but Niko and Joey know. Thanks Joey and Niko Is have a great chemistry.
Niko should be described as a hippie rapper but don’t get him mixed up with Mod Sun. Mod Sun would never write “Take care of the warrants, duct tape the informants, leave them hogtied by the door hinge, and then stack them up with the corpses. Of course I’m being morbid, I just want to live in Florence and eat swordfish, mix some champagne with my orange(Fifi).” Niko takes time on songs like Stars to talk about life and its importance, he writes one of the most heartfelt chorus’s of the year “I don’t give a fuck what everybody does, I just want to make the music I know everybody loves. I want to spend the rest of my life everywhere with everyone(2x). I’m a hippy I love rainbows I’m defending it. Cause I know there must be some pot that’s at the end of it(2x),” on the song I Want to Spend The Rest of My Life Everywhere BUT Chill Cosby is much more Wink & The Gun or Smoking Jacket than I Want to Spend The Rest of My Life Everywhere.
When I made my way through the first time I thought Niko was laughing because he was high but as I caught the lines I realized he was laughing at his insane punch lines. His flow stretches from aggressive to humor like first album Eminem, the Spanish accent and the dexterity of breath control bring to mind JuJu from the Beat Nuts but neither of those artists can lay claim to purely influencing his style or creating this verse. “The rest of the competition is on novacane, easy smiling, expensive watches living like mobsters. I put a bomb under my car and drive it off a cliff and while I blow up I write the most fire sh*t! So I could tell god I went out in a blaze of glory, bring em a paper full of kush and tell him blaze it for me. Writing verses stuffin’ purple in my bible page, now it’s me and Moses surfing on a title wave (Smoking Jacket).” Few verses end logically with the MC surfing waves with Moses.
I could almost dare you to listen to it and not enjoy it. Play Steffi Graf and listen to him trade bars with Bronson, hear the beat bounce and try not to fall hard for Chill Cosby. In a year full of rap artists trying desperately to differentiate themselves, Niko Is feels formed. Made to do nothing else but what he does. For further evidence check out some of the one liners you’ll find throughout it.
“Too cloudy? Open up a window like its Firefox.” Barracuda
“I’m as fly as it gets cause I got Mosquito blood.” Voce
“They say the good die young but I’m great…that doesn’t apply to me.” I Want to Spend the Rest of My Life
“Making a dollar there, holla at your Koala Bear. Living life without a care…SCORPION…GET OVER HERE!” Fifi
“Respect my drug test…I got a dirty mind.” I want to spend the rest of my life everywhere with everyone.
Please stream and download the mixtape below: