Often, us as music lovers – and sometimes critics too – tend to flock to major-label or big-named indie artists are the first source for reviewing music. Why? It’s easy and these artists are well established or moderately established. Sometimes, however, the biggest “gems” come with burgeoning artists, many known or establishing themselves at the local level and gradually or consistently building their careers. That was a mouthful!
Okay enough of that – let’s just cut to the chase. Nick Weaver, a Seattle independent rapper rocks – well he raps, but he “rocks” because he has plenty to offer lyrically and artistically to the game. On his full-length album Prowler, Weaver shows both his continually growing potential and exceptionalness as an MC. Nick Weaver is one cool cat. Let’s dive into Prowler, shall we?
“Proceed” launches Prowler enthusiastically, possessing a ferocious edge. An exceptional salvo even clocking in just over two minutes, “Proceed” sets the tone for the album, with Weaver engaging his audience with assertive, assured rhymes. “Good Lord” follows up in satisfactory fashion, thriving off the momentum established by the opener. Weaver rides an infectious loop like a boss, spitting with poised-urgency. Huh – “What you talkin’ ‘bout Willis?” Basically, Weaver is chill, yet his mellow approach doesn’t lack fire. It takes skill to spit ether the way Weaver does.
“R.I.P.” is drenched in swag, with Weaver getting a strong assist from da Deputy. Da Deputy takes the reins initially, blessing a raucous anchoring loop with his gritty pipes. Weaver takes over the second half of the track, contrasting da Deputy magnificently with his cool approach, while still packing a KO punch with a dash of profanity…or two…or three.
“Forgot” like opener “Proceed” is brief, but continues to showcase an MC on autopilot. The best, most memorable line: “I’m Gus Van Sant with a dash of Rembrandt…” Get it Nick! On “Them” he comes out swinging, amplifying the aggression to the next level, passionately spitting, “Motherf*ckers like you / spent your whole damn life not knowing what you really had to do…and motherf*ckers like me / spent our whole damn lives figurin’ out who we really need to be…” Later, Weaver emphatically spits on the hook, “Let’s break ‘em off something, uh! Uh! / Let’s break ‘em off something cold…” If he were ever too subtle before, there’s no subtleness here as he gets down and dirty no questions asked.
“Aw f*ck!” What a way to jump right into “Slide,” which ranks among the crème de la crème of Prowler (“it’s irresistibly delicious”). Weaver definitely comes to play – jump shots going in – delivering thrilling rhyme after thrilling rhyme, whether he’s “too weird for drugs for real,” “spent my unemployment on Nikes…” or he just wants to “slide into your DMs.”
As hard as it is to follow up “Slide,” “Heat” handles the arduous task soundly. Of course it does – Nick Weaver’s been bringing the “Heat” since “Proceed” initiated Prowler. Next! “Modus Operandi” (featuring Grynch) revisits that ‘smooth operator’ electrifying means that found Weaver killing it from the jump. The M.O. unsurprisingly ends up being successful, as it does on solo track “Gospel” which has a bit more contemporary production finesse compared to much of Prowler. It’s slick and intense – indeed “the moment where I rock you” – or so Weaver asserts! Hey, the “Gospel” hits you right in the soul!
“Bleed” features Anthony Briscoe, who delivers nuanced, soulfully sung vocals during the second half of the song. His legato vocals directly contrasts Weaver’s rapping. Penultimate joint “Small Man” once more sports that “cool bite” making Weaver quite compelling, including a brilliant string of rhymes that eventually ends with titillating innuendo (“a tormented tongue / tornado right through your fishnets”). “Taste” concludes Prowler as soundly as it began, no questions asked. In other words, the “taste” is good.
All in all, Prowler is a terrific independent rap album without a doubt. Weaver first impressed with EP Yardwork, but Prowler finds the Seattle MC stepping up his game to the next level. Clever and witty, Weaver has a winner on his hands.
Favorites: “Good Lord,” “Them,” “Slide” and “Small Man”
Nick Weaver • Prowler • Nick Weaver • Release Date: 2.17.16