Nick Weaver • Yardwork (EP) • Release Date: January 6, 2015
Contemporary hip-hop/rap music transcends race, gender, and any number of stereotypes. No longer is the genre based merely upon experiencing the hard-knock life of the streets or hustling – the scope of the music has evolved and grown considerably. That is what makes Seattle MC/producer Nick Weaver special and among a crop of a unique, newer school of rappers.
Young’s your regular guy who has always been passionate about the music, but definitely doesn’t pretend to be something he’s not. On his ‘debut’ EP Yardwork, he spits about his life and never sells out beyond his experiences – that’s the mark of authenticity and legitimate ‘trill-ness’. Ultimately, the dude who’s went through the ‘normal’ motions of life, delivers some excellent stuff without ever pretending he’s a ‘G.’
Title track “Yardwork” sets the tone with its bite, despite being delivered in a chill, cool approach. Maybe it’s the dash of profanity that adds the grittiness to Weaver’s laid-back, easygoing performance. Regardless, the listening experience is one in which the feeling is you quickly get on the ‘same page’ as Weaver. Most folks must complete the “yard work” of which the MC speaks, right?
“The Story” amplifies the groove with a soulful, old school feel. The enjoyable track isn’t without surprises. “The Story” features a folksy contrast that switches the meter and overall feeling, though only temporarily. Weaver’s flow continues to compel, with the rhymes flowing right off his tongue with agility and overall ease. There is soundness about Weaver, even with his more nonchalant approach compared to others. It’s a selling point.
“Triple 6” has a foreboding feel, as to be expected given its eerie song title. The production has a conservative nature about it, but the haunting nature of the restraint actually intensifies the creepy, enigmatic sound of the song. Unsurprisingly, Weaver references the devil within his passionate rhymes, both explicitly and figuratively. “Triple 6” is a worthwhile narrative that never cedes listeners’ attention as Weaver delivers the ultimate middle finger to a music exec, with a healthy helping of f-bombs. FEROCIOUS!
A splash of trumpet and piano appear on “Bang Bang,” not to mention the exuberance of its major key, a clear contrast to “Triple 6.” Even though the music is joyful (in an understated fashion), Weaver’s rhymes remain honest with life-experience. A nice touch by Weaver is the pacing – the allowance of space and for “Bang Bang” to extend for a longer duration beyond his raps.
“The Gap” follows, enlisting the help of Nige Hood and YC The Cynic. Production remains a selling point – never overproduced, but containing just enough ideas to keep things interesting and maintaining a flow. The horns on this hook-less joint fill in the gaps sensationally. Weaver and his companions do a sound job on their verses.
Closing cut “You’re Crazy” is incredibly respectable given the substance and depth of its message. Weaver’s adoration for his father is apparent here as the MC references cancer, further accentuated by the pop-driven backdrop. He spits eloquently and prudently. If nothing else, “You’re Crazy” is arguably the EP’s most touching moment.
Ultimately on Yardwork, Nick Weaver does ‘work’ – no pun intended. The producer/rapper captivates the listener with each successive listen, as there is something new to pick up each and every time. While Weaver doesn’t allure based upon pizzazz or ‘swag’ itself, he lets his rhymes and thoughtful production work carry him. Never overdone, Yardwork puts the weight into the lyrics, which makes it special and on another level compared to so much of hip-hop.
Favorites: “Yardwork,” “Triple 6” and “You’re Crazy”