Sometimes in the endless coverage cycle of every move Kanye West makes, every tweet Drake sends, and every Reebok Kendrick Lamar laces up, it gets hard to remember that all over the country, super talented artists are flying under the radar. Nocando is one of these. He is a West Coast rapper from the little-known Los Angeles haven of Leimert Park, a tiny, classic neighborhood designed in the late 1920s by Walter H. Leimert as one of LA’s first master plan communities. The plans he used were created by the Olmsted Brothers, an architecture, landscape, and design company founded by the sons of the man who designed Central Park and countless other landmarks, Frederick Law Olmsted. The neighborhood quickly became a prominent African American middle class community, has been dubbed “the Black Greenwich Village,” and is widely lauded as a holdover for African American art and culture in Los Angeles. This is crucial context for understanding Nocando, or James “Jimmy” McCall.
This is a rapper who writes his own op-ed about battle rapping and interrogates the practice instead of giving a cursory interview. This is an artist who co-founded the Low End Theory podcast, heads up the LA indie rap collective Hellfyre Club, and still remains wildly prolific in his own right. Last year he released his excellent second studio album Jimmy The Burnout, but he’s already begun to slowly release new material. Today Noisey premiered the video for one of his loose tracks, “Osaka.” When he calls himself a “Leimert Park legend” on the track, understand that he is, and his presence in that community has had a huge impact on the LA underground rap scene. Plus, I don’t know if I’ve ever heard a better “rap game” distinction than “rap game Kafka,” and “Osaka” dives head first into 21st century alienation amid a smeared rush of Japanese scenery. Watch the Conrad Curtis-directed video below, and watch out for Nocando’s next move.
Get Jimmy The Burnout here.