NNAMDÏ’s album BRAT might actually make you speechless. It is genuinely one of the strangest and eclectic pieces of music that has come out this year. The Chicago music artist, born Nnamdi Ogbonnaya, is all over the place here. He doesn’t take himself too seriously, and as the title and the cover image would suggest, he essentially sticks his tongue out at anyone trying to tack a genre or label to him. Despite NNAMDÏ’s playfulness and fearless energy, he unquestionably deserves to be taken very seriously.
This LP arrives on April 3rd as his fourth and most daring project. The singer, multi-instrumentalist, and rapper dips his hand into a boundless, Mary Poppins-sized bag of sonic styles with the most un-categorizable and unique technique. “Flowers To My Demons” tricks you first with the sound of an acoustic guitar, only to have the song’s frantic energy and autotune vocals open up a pandora’s box of vulnerability and introspection. Next up is “Gimme Gimme”, which is ideal for a windows-down car anthem, and a reference to both his insatiable appetite for musical exploration and demand for ‘everything that I deserve’. Once again, to keep you on your toes, “Bullseye”’s child-like playground screams suddenly paves the way to a sophisticated jazzy electric guitar appearance, an element that also peeks through in “Everyone I Loved” next to a piano drizzle. NNAMDÏ catches his breath for the next few songs as he shifts to a lower gear, letting a more relaxed tempo shimmy through R&B, alternative rock, hip hop, and electronic. The last track, “Salut”, leaves us on a saddened parting tone. The ritualistic, prayerful repetitions mournfully ask, ‘why won’t you visit’, as he feels unanswered. Bold armor aside, it’s obvious that BRAT is so far from juvenile. NNAMDÏ bares himself in his lyrics and details his struggle to come to terms with feeling ‘selfish’ for pursuing his music career full-time.
Again, words don’t really have the strength to keep up with his infectious, mountainous spirit and spellbinding, masterful grip on the music world. NNAMDÏ wants to have his cake, and eat it too; and we are here for it.