The Nonce – The Sight of Things
1. Live & Direct
2. The Greatest MC’s
3. Turnin’ It Out
4. The Sight of Things
6. Who Falls Apart
7. Articulate With Math
In 1995, the duo of Yusef Afloat & Nouka Basetype released their highly slept-on longplayer World Ultimate, an album fuelled by the laidback flavor that undoubtedly influenced later left-coast groups like People Under the Stairs, Visionaries etc. Although some of the album’s tracks like ‘Mixtapes’ turned a few heads, the group didn’t make a big impact and I figured they had become another victim of the industry until I saw this underrated EP in a store back in 1998.
Stylistically, The Sight of Things follows on (for the most part) right where World Ultimate finished. If you’re looking for some joints that are gonna get you rowdy in the club, look elsewhere. The Nonce are all about making you relax. A lot of cats that attempt ‘laid back’ hip hop usually achieve only in sending the listener to sleep. On the EP’s best tracks like ‘The Greatest MC’s’ and ‘The Sight of Things’ however, The Nonce have it both ways. The binding of the rappers’ slippery flows to their self-produced bumping beats results in relaxing music which doesn’t tread into monotony. ‘Checkbook’, which deals with folk who let their ends (or lack of) get the better of them is another track that gets props.
The only times the record falters is when The Nonce attempt grittier, less jazzy production like on ‘Turnin’ it Out’ and ‘Articulate With Math’. Both sound uncomfortable, and suggest that the group would have been wise to stick with what they do best. Everyone has to experiment sometimes I guess, but on an EP-length release there’s no room for error.
Still, this is a fine EP sure to please any fans of underground west coast hip hop. Tragically, Yusef Afloat was murdered a couple of years after this release. A couple of posthumous Nonce albums appeared last year: Advanced Regression & The Right State of Mind, neither of which I have either seen or even heard.
Three and a half pairs of panties outta five.
Polarity with thanks to Travis (once again) for the upload.