Mixtape Review-Good Blood by Niko Is

Mixtape Review-Good Blood by Niko Is
by Dan-O
It wasn’t until yesterday that I realized I had been listening to Niko Is new mixtape Good Blood every day since it came out. As good as Niko Is at creating arresting imagery (example) “Eating blowfish sushi with Japanese golfers (Green Tomato Coupe)” this is him in a different space. Good Blood is by no means chill. It stampedes into your headphones in a way Heltah Skeltah or Das Efx did. The best projects not only have songs that stick with you but lines that define them, that mission statement in this case comes on The Eastside of The Bridge where the projects only voice states clearly “Everybody feelin’ the pressure to get super sentimental to me! Too much pretending for me!” In a series of interjections Niko makes it clear: I am not here to lead you down a cloudy journey of drug addled depression. I am not here to tell you about the horrors of my childhood and I plan to unload all of the linguistically dense madness from my head since I have the perfect beat selection to do it.

This brings me to the other star of Good Blood long time Niko Is producer Thanks Joey who laces ten of the twelve tracks. Joey is evolving with Niko. The same way Niko’s lyricism is moving away from the pleasantries of weed rap and hippie rap into a more inspired all-eyes-on-me aggression, Joey’s sound is bubbling over projecting a sharply instrumental Bossanova flavor onto the next level feel of Rockwilder contributions on Big Puns Capital Punishment . While Brazilian funk and soul had been toyed with before, Big Pun proved that you could take the rich tapestry of Salsa and Brazilian funk and merge it with the crash of Boom Bap. Joey is the next generation of that first step; check out the speed transformation on Balloon D’or a track that doesn’t switch as much as mutate into something completely different, or how well that beat feeds into the high happy horns of The Cravings. Listening to Joey’s beats over the years has ignited interests for me like Tim Maia and Jorge Ben and cemented a connection to the warmth of Latin Music.

Neither of the two major characters behind Good Blood push themselves where they don’t belong. Joey is not stretching complexity on some Flying Lotus ish, he can make a song seem tranquil while its baseline wakes up your kid (see Tito Crack That Dutch) or make you focus on the sound sample of a Biggie grunt that seems to be sneaking all around the track (see Green Tomato Coupe). Niko is not a hippie rapper at this point if he ever was one. He’s just a monster who can make dipping Focaccia bread in olive oil sound like the most hardcore thing an artist can do. With every project it gets easier to toss his name out as one of the best out, a lot of it has to do with what him and his team don’t do. They don’t book bad features (or sometimes any), they don’t make bad beats or wack songs. While your favorite artist might feel pressure to take a beat from a big name producer that doesn’t fit him Niko knows his sound enough that the beat he produced (Onda) fits perfectly on the project. It feels like a warm day and a great space for him to luxuriate over. Everyone involved in Good Blood knew exactly how it should sound and as a listener that’s the most reassuring thing you can know about a team you support. 

Stream or Download Niko Is-Good Blood:





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