Illasoul: Shades of Blue
I love/hate starting posts with these kind of introductions. I love it because it means I’m excited about the music, I hate it because it means I dropped the ball. Anyways, I’ll say it, as I’ve said before; I’m sorry. By not introducing Sunset readers to the incredibly talented Kids These Days I have let down my hometown, Chicago, the windy city the Kids call home, and I have let you guys down for not sharing some of the best new up and comers out there.
Today, I’d like to introduce you to Nico Segal, one of the very talented Kids. He plays trumpet for Kids These Days, but is also a moving, intricate wordsmith; complex and emphatic. He recently released a solo mixtape titled Illasoul: Shades of Blue, and it is truly an incredible project.
I guess most people would call Nico Segal a rapper, right? I can’t, though. What he’s doing is different–it’s more poetic, I guess, than what I would be accustomed to hearing from a “rapper.” This is true not just in the way he writes (and good lord, the young man can make magic with his words), but in the way he speaks.
This is clear on “Music Found Me,” which is just Nico’s voice sans instrumental–simply a poem. But not a simple poem, to be sure; I spent an hour today listening to it on repeat, and each time I heard a new line, found a new meaning. “My world is made of bouncing rhythms and traveling pitches,” Segal informs his listener. And so, really, is his voice; weaving and flowing through rhythmic rhymes and intricate tales of his hometown, his life, his artistic visions and journeys, and his unquenchable desire for poetry and the artistic craft of spoken word.
I Once was Lost, but Now I’m Found. Was Blind, but Now I See; Music Found Me
Kids These Days will be a big deal. If they’re not, it says something very disappointing about the music industry. They are incredibly talented, and easily one of the most moving acts I have heard in a long time. Vic Mensa, the lead rapper of KTD, is featured on both Clear Eyes and Come Closer.
It’s been a while since my voice looked at me with clear eyes/ It’s been a while since my voice became shaky with sniffled cries
He has a beautiful voice and is also an incredibly gifted rapper and singer, but look up some KTD–literally every member of the group is extremely talented at what they do. I can’t remember the last time I listened this intently to every word an artist has said on a mixtape. I found myself completely entranced by Nico’s words on Music Found Me, Clear Eyes, and Musica Mi Vida.
“But of course corpses that never breathed art before will forever reek of remorse/ for pledging allegiance to ignorance and price and pristine politicians, demeaners of indifference/ How many presidents were musicians? People aren’t blind when it comes to politics they just don’t listen”
Nico and Vic both have an old school, bluesy sound to their words and voices, so they go along very well with the Dilla, Thelonious, and MF Doom classic, jazz infused production.
I don’t know what else to say about Illasoul. You just have to listen to it guys, it’s necessary. Let me know what you think, too, because I’m curious. Am I giving them too much credit? Are they as good as I make them out to be? I hope so. I believe so.
“My Rabbi is Miles Davis”