It must be pointed out that although Rich Mundi is Nasty P’s latest album, conceptually it’s from his alter ego ‘Rich Mundi’. Nasty P hails from Edinburgh and is otherwise known as Paul Rutherford, a DJ and producer and established titan in the Scottish hip-hop scene. Under his belt is the critically acclaimed The Story So Far which features appearances from Akil from Jurassic 5, Skinnyman and Oddissee. He’s released several notable remixes of songs by J. Cole, Kendrick Lamar, Florence & The Machine, amongst others. He’s also supported Ghostface Killah, KRS-One; Roots Manuva and Earl Sweatshirt. Sonically, his previous work took more of a traditional approach to hip-hop. For example, The Story So Far was heavily influenced by 90s hip-hop and is beloved by fans of the underground and boom bap era. But this is where Rich Mundi comes in. Rich Mundi isn’t a complete avoidance of the genre as there are still elements of boom bap found on the project. However, as this is Nasty P’s alter ego, Rich Mundi gives him the scope to explore and fuse hip-hop, EDM, RnB and soul themes more so than his previous work.
This mix and match leads to the biggest strength of Rich Mundi: namely its diversity and how well it works. Nasty P isn’t content to just hit us over the head with a boom bap sound. In fact, in a recent interview with The Skinny he affirmed his love for boom bap, but said, “there’s more to do”. In this respect, he’s clearly delivered as it’s a superbly diverse album that draws from multiple genres. Rich Mundi opens with No Tellin, a bars heavy gritty boom bap joint featuring Ed O.G, Reks, Termanology and Akrobatik — all established rappers in Massachusetts’ underground scene. The good chemistry between Nasty P and the four rappers is evident as all of them deliver quality verses, particularly Termanology who gives an incredibly menacing third verse that’s a perfect blend of unfiltered aggression and lyricism. Nasty P flips the script at the end of the album, giving a darker and more dangerous remix to No Tellin.
One More Time featuring Jane Gilbert is a genuinely beautiful gospel and soul inspired track with brilliant production. The bassline is catchy and complimented by terrific vocals. The track is so smooth it feels like it could appear on a Luke Cage episode. Diamond Life is an electronica driven heavy industrial song that could be at home at any EDM festival. Nasty P takes a relatively minimalist approach to Round Again and alongside M.A.D, crafts a wonderfully ominous headbanger and one of the strongest tracks on the album. Conversely, Living It Tall featuring Cosimo is airy, pop inspired and full of life.
The risk of making an ‘experimental’ album is that it can appear too abstract or discordant. Refreshingly, Nasty P employs an appropriate amount of restraint throughout the project. For instance, Pretty Females utilises a garage RnB inspired vocal showcase from frequent collaborator Naledi, but then also blends in gorgeous piano and strings. Nasty P clearly has a good ear for those sounds as they’re prominent throughout Rich Mundi, but he doesn’t let them overpower the songs and knows how to give them their right place. Even if some of the songs are different tonally from each other, Nasty P has the technical adeptness to veer between genuinely beautiful pieces like The Win and grittier energetic tracks like Diamond Life.
The downside to this otherwise solid project is that on this twelve song album, tracks such as I’m In (which sounds vaguely videogame inspired), Truth Story and Get It Started aren’t as memorable as some of the other finer songs. They aren’t terrible, but the first seven songs are so well made and innovative that they set a high bar that those three songs don’t really meet. Although sandwiched between I’m In and Get It Started is the wonderful Jibberish.
Giving the whole project a few spins, it’s clear that Nasty P makes super polished and fun work. Some of the songs develop such a well-rounded atmosphere that they feel like they would make excellent additions to a film soundtrack. His super polished approach and ability to switch between hypnotic soulful beats and then draw you in with heavy electronic sounds would be a terrific thing to hear live. Go ahead and give Rich Mundi a listen. It’s a solid piece of work and a great foray into diversifying his sounds.
Nasty P ‘Rich Mundi’ will be out on 27th October (pre order 20th October)
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