NO_ONE EVER REALLY DIES is N.E.R.D.'s first record in seven years and since have seen Pharell Williams become a legit pop star. N.E.R.D. have always had this mystique of being too cool for school, beats so fresh you won't know how awesome they are until five years from now. It was pure experimentation with a hip hop veil that a lot producers were unwilling to try, but the boys of N.E.R.D. went there. The first track "Lemon" featuring Rihanna is an absolute screamer and has Rihanna rapping better than she ever has with savage lines. The damn song might as well be one long fire tweet put to music. Kendrick, Gucci, Rihanna, Future are just a few of the features on this record but the real jump out is Andre 3000 on "Rollinem 7's". N.E.R.D. seem to always put the eople they collaborate with in difficult positions to bring the most out of them. Gucci Mane is not rapping over a trap beat on "Voila" but more singing the hook, something you would never expect but, that works incredibly well. Even Future is given some energy and life in "1000" where is music is usually syrupy and trappy. There is a sense of celebration to this record but also one of anger. The beats are clipped and chopped but then on a track like "Don't Don't Do It!" featuring Kendrick Lamar we get this guitar rift reminiscent of N.E.R.D.'s first record. You would expect rap rock to stick out like a sore thumb but N.E.R.D. manage to find this balance where it's not nu-metal it more Soul-Rap. The influences are so varied but somewhere deep down there is an undeniable through line linking the whole record together and letting it flow in a really awesome way.

"Lightning Fir Magic Prayer" seemingly N.E.R.D.'s Burning Man jam is psychedelic in the best way, worming its way through this really great fucking beat. When Andre 3000 drops his one verse of the album it makes you want to beat down his door and demand a new goddamn album. For someone who seems like they don't have an interest in making new music to be this good at it is fucking frustrating as all hell. Its a quick attack, but it's nearly perfect. It isn't all fun and games though, this N.E.R.D. album is their most politically charged and one with some real punch even if they wrap it up in quite a bit of metaphor. It seems like the N.E.R.D. boys got triggered in 2016/2017 and this project was the result. NO_ONE EVER REALLY DIES just works from start to finish and I'm sure websties who have already put out their top albums of 2017 are kicking themselves for not waiting a week or two. NO_ONE EVER REALLY DIES  connects with 2017 on so many levels that from the first second the beat drops on "Lemon" there is no denying this record. Don't sleep this is the real deal right here.

8.9 out of 10


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