Tha God Fahim / NicoJP - Chess Moves Music Album Reviews

Tha God Fahim / NicoJP - Chess Moves Music Album Reviews
The underground hip-hop veteran’s new EP flirts with chess metaphors, but the mundane raps don’t help the thematic wallpaper hold up.

Rap music is no stranger to the world of chess. RZA and GZA of Wu-Tang Clan are the most recognizable chess players in the movement and have crafted entire songs dedicated to the world’s most popular strategy game. But aside from countless references and several of the genre’s most iconic figures being avid competitors, chess and rap have shared themes too: Both historically pride themselves on being games of cunning that involve eyeing down an adversary. As RZA once told The New York Times, “Hip-hop is a battle game. Chess is a battle.”
It makes sense that a rapper as meticulous as Tha God Fahim would be drawn to the world of knights and queens. A veteran of rap’s current underground renaissance, Fahim approaches rapping and producing like building a Gundam model, subtly tinkering with and reassembling his brand of melancholy hip-hop. Lately, he’s been rhyming more and producing slightly less, as he does on Chess Moves, an EP helmed entirely by Venezuelan-Mexican beatmaker NicoJP. It’s a steady, workmanlike effort, one drip from an exhaustingly prolific stream of music. His consistency and the nasal twang of his voice have endeared him to several generations of rap purists, but here, that steadiness and a lack of variety make the project feel longer than it actually is.

Though his style befits someone who might be into chess—the boasts and business-minded mentality of his lyrics betray the reserved, even aloof tone of his voice—the actual game is often superficially invoked here. Outside of track titles and a handful of vocal samples, there’s very little mention of chess at all; just elegant window dressing for Fahim’s raps and Nico’s loops. As a producer, Nico is a student of the Alchemist and Nicholas Craven school of psychedelic sampling. Check the clean guitar licks zigzagging across the horizon of the humid “War Spear,” or the spindly piano keys and harp strings creeping in the background of “Tha Fog” and “New Alert,” respectively. Sometimes the instruments float by with no percussion; other times, the drums bludgeon everything in their path.

This approach leaves Fahim a decent amount of room to talk his shit, and he pulls directly from his trusty blueprint: raps about entrepreneurship, struggling to survive in the cold streets, small pieces of advice, and showy displays of his mic skills. On “Picking Bones,” he talks about staying on work calls for hours and being grateful to breathe in such harsh times, the subtle rhyme scheme helping the generic message land. Some of his bars are bland, stalling on the most basic descriptions, like, “My only choice was to be a rider like Ghost Rider” on “Tha Dark Saga.” Fahim raps both for inspiration and aspiration, pointing out the strategy in his climb and making sure we are aware of the 10,000 hours that earned him his prosperity. In that sense, chess does subtly manifest as a theme for Fahim and Nico’s ruminations. But it’s thin enough to swap out for any other thematic wallpaper about honor or strategy, mainly because Fahim’s descriptions are often so formulaic that his own perspective disappears.

Like many of today’s independent rappers, Fahim has worked tirelessly to establish himself in a crowded scene. He’s even done it with different alter egos: Dump Gawd, the Wolf on Wall Street, the Dark Shogunn Assassin. None of these are discrete personas in the MF DOOM sense—they just give Fahim more room to rap about getting ahead in life and money. Chess Moves doesn’t budge from this template much; if it weren’t for the atmospheric beats, most of these thoughts would blur together. It’s like Fahim’s pulling off a castle move—a transition that puts him in a better position to strike on his next turn.
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About Wanni Arachchige Udara Madusanka Perera

Hey, I'm Perera! I will try to give you technology reviews(mobile,gadgets,smart watch & other technology things), Automobiles, News and entertainment for built up your knowledge.
Tha God Fahim / NicoJP - Chess Moves Music Album Reviews Tha God Fahim / NicoJP - Chess Moves Music Album Reviews Reviewed by Wanni Arachchige Udara Madusanka Perera on February 10, 2023 Rating: 5


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