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Splice Today: UllNevaNo’s The Color Brown

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Reviewed Baltimore rapper UllNevaNo’s mixtape, The Color Brown where he raps over beats from Kev Brown. He did the same thing with Evidence beats for last year’s The Color Purple, but this project’s better all around and feels like a really solid rap release in the key of underground hip-hop, but with enough rough edges and strange asides to make it really stand-out. You can download it for free over at Under Sound Music’s website.

Most rappers on the come-up do just about anything to create the illusion of an industry co-sign. They’ll stick a verse in the middle of a radio hit and hype it up as a “remix.” They’ll sample a popular rapper for a hook and when they blast it out to the blogs, credit the song as “featuring” that popular rapper. So, when Baltimore-based, San Bernardino-bred rapper UllNevaNo tells listeners that he has “no relationship with [D.C. beatmaker] Kev Brown,” on a mixtape consisting entirely of raps over Kev Brown’s instrumentals, it’s a sobering dose of sincerity–and precisely the kind of cagey honesty that permeates much of The Color Brown.

UllNevaNo exhibits the expected verbal dexterity (the mission statement-like “Bright Sound,” the concentrated lyrical exercise “Serious To None”) but he offers up something a bit more rarefied and unpredictable too. He can be playful (the “riding the Metro sucks” rap-rant “Tune Em’ Out,” the old school pro wrestling references in his rhymes) and at times, disarmingly emotional. Coming right after the contemplative “Reconsider It,” there’s the relationship rap, “Someday,” a tangle of diary-like confessions (“I don’t even know what to say/I wrote this verse and thought about you today”) and nerdy, needy pontificating (“There’s too much technology, not to stay in contact,” he tells his ex from five years ago). When UllNevaNo wonders aloud if the girl still has the mix CD he made for her all those years ago, and a depressed guitar sample rises out of Kev Brown’s foggy beat, punctuating the sentiment, it’s one of the most touching, bittersweet moments in rap this year…

Written by Brandon

August 12th, 2010 at 7:05 pm

Posted in Baltimore, Splice Today

One Response to 'Splice Today: UllNevaNo’s The Color Brown'

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  1. The drums on this shit don’t knock hard enough. Otherwise it is indeed a fine mixtape.

    mark p.

    12 Aug 10 at 10:56 pm

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