NoCap! If you’re unfamiliar, the name might be too ridiculous for you to commit to the music. But I implore you, if you’ve never heard “Ghetto Angels”, listen to it. The song is an incredible ode to the artist’s fallen friends, expressing a vulnerability (“I end up cryin’ on my best days”) that is often missing in hip-hop, over an appropriately heavenly beat.
It’s hard to say “Ghetto Angels”, from The Backend Child (2019) isn’t the young rapper’s best song, but lately I’ve been stuck on Steel Human, which as it stands is the most recent project from the 23-year old artist. Like a lot of newer rappers, Cap does the rap-singing thing. He stands out for a couple reasons: for one, he has a great voice and ear for melody. And lyrically, he has a unique and clever approach. The song that really sold me on NoCap (besides “Ghetto Angels”) was Lil Baby’s “Dreams 2 Reality” from 2018. Produced by frequent collaborator and fellow Alabama native Al’Geno, it features the NoCap line, “I’m on top of all these n****s, I can see when all these angels piss.” It’s such a weird way of bragging that it stuck with me.
Steel Human contains similarly confounding gems. “If I leave the game, will my Xbox love me?” “I’m a drunk boxer / I pour lean in my Hawaiian Punch”. “Playground love / I let her slide and she got mood swings”. The more you listen to NoCap, the more wordplay you uncover. As far as younger rappers with a pop/melodic sensibility, NoCap is one of the best. Also, all the features here are great. Here’s hoping for more from NoCap.
Listen to Steel Human here.