Nashville's Ron Obasi Drops Hyper Lyrical EP, 'Notes on a Scale ll'
Evan Dale // April 28, 2020
I figured if I’m
Poised to bring this city of mine
A new feel
Gotta make it vivid with time
And paint a picture
Poetry runs deep in the veins of Nashville’s soundscape. The underrated hip-hop mecca is an image of constant growth in all creative realms. Driven by the motor of a scene that has largely pulled itself up through collaboration, Nashville’s strongest creative gear is its hip-hop community. There are a number of artists whose monikers might not yet be recognizable outside of Tennessee, but such is always the case when the roots of a cultural renaissance are rapidly growing beneath the surface.
When they do sprout beyond the fence of Nashville’s garden – and that’s a matter of sooner than later – Ron Obasi will be one of the first household names. Driven by the kind of experience-sourced hyper-lyricism that has become the crowning signature that draws Nashville’s rappers akin, his 2020 EP, Notes on a Scale ll couldn’t boast a more understatedly fitting opening title.
Ron Obasi is a good rapper. A great rapper, even. And for a brisk 13 minutes, he and his Nashville collaborators put forth the kind of professional musicality usually reserved for the big-name studios in hip-hop’s expected Southern capitals – Atlanta, New Orleans, Miami. But, there’s something unfakably Nashville beneath the surface. Listen to most projects by most of the city’s up-and-comers, and indulge in silky, jazz-oriented low-fidelity that the city’s beats have also stamped their signatures with.
Listen to Notes on a Scale ll and be inundated by both the pen and the production, and be amazed that such a mature, veteran sound is coming from such an underrated source.
Through and through, the project exceeds its minimalist title, as Ron Obasi understates his own deep, drawn delivery with those of calming, brass-led beats. The end result is a signature Nashville EP from a certain force of hip-hop’s future aiming to return rap to its mainstays: rhythm & poetry.