I’ve slowly been learning about rap and learning to like it over the last two years. I find myself hooked on one track at a time: “Lose Yourself” by Eminem, “No Tears” by Scarface, “Hypnotize” by the Notorious B.I.G., and recently “Jungle” by Andre Nickatina and Equipto.
Nickatina layers grime until he sounds smooth:
I force my rhymes in your veins like a hot shot of heroin
You’ll go cold turkey tryin’ ta work me
His boasts drip sweet street cred:
I’m in the fast lane, the cash lane, some think it’s a bad thing
Hitting ’em off with the see & H pure cane
And his references are regal and religious:
I got the soul and the spirit of the wrath of Kahn
Kick back and write just like the holy Koran
Nickatina’s “Jungle” doesn’t tell a track-long story like Eminem, doesn’t have the fierce honesty of Scarface, and doesn’t have Biggie’s flow. The two primary motifs, that of “jungle” and “thunder,” aren’t even complementary. But there’s something in it that makes me repeat the lines to myself dozens of times.