Last year, the Seattle rapper Nacho Picasso had something of a coming-out party when he released his For The Glory mixtape, a cloudy-eyed and bloody-minded celebration of boundless drug appetites and comic-book violence. Nacho had as much fun kicking out grisly murder threats as Odd Future do, but he did it with more of an absentminded shrug; he’d kill you, but only after he finished smoking this bowl and reading this Weapon-X trade paperback. Nacho’s voice is a croaky weeded-out grunt, but he uses it in slinky ways, sinking deep into his beats and figuring out some needley, ingratiating hooks. His beats, many of them from the Seattle production duo Blue Sky Black Death, were gleaming synthetic spaceship things, and they fit his style beautifully. Now Blue Sky Black Death have teamed up with Nacho for another tape, sharing equal billing with the rapper this time. They’ve earned it.
Despite its similar aesthetic and its sequel-style cover art, Lord Of The Fly isn’t a victory lap after For The Glory. Instead, it’s a trip that takes us deeper into this specific headspace. The instrumentals here are gorgeous, glittering things, slow-motion keyboard zooms and quavering tones that recall synth-drone artists like Oneohtrix Point Never and Emeralds. And they get more room to breath than they did on For The Glory. The drums move slower, and we get to hear longer instrumental stretches before Nacho starts rapping. And maybe I’m imagining this, but I think Nacho’s voice is just a little bit deeper in the mix this time; he seems content to share the listeners’ headspace with his producers. And even though the tracks themselves don’t seem to be built from samples, we do get a few vaguely recognizable vocal clips, which float up from the depths of internet-addled pop-cultural ephemera, like that moment where Ving Rhames got into a screaming argument with a prank call from a Ving Rhames soundboard. And this extra focus on the production does wonders for the tape’s sense of atmosphere. If you’re making a low-budget post-apocalyptic horror movie, you should probably get Blue Sky Black Death to score it.
As for Nacho, he’s still in that same menacing blunted haze that animated For The Glory. He’s perfectly willing to indulge his basest influences; “On A Bitch” isn’t exactly the most forward-thinking piece of art you’ll hear today. But he’s still a rapper who knows what he’s doing. Compared to most of the internet-rap upstarts populating the world’s Tumblrs lately, he’s a maestro at finding the pocket of the beat and staying there, or riding the same rhyme for a verse at a time. Even though there are no rapping guests on Lord Of The Fly, Nacho’s voice never gets old. And he’s also funny and hyper-referential, even when he’s being thuddingly ignorant: “Got the hammer like I’m Norse / My horse is a Porsche / I drive hammered like I’m Storch.” As many drugs as he raps about doing, they haven’t stopped him from figuring out ways to twist words around.
For The Glory is barely three months old, and already the responsible parties have cooked up another full-length that’s at least as good. That’s one of the great things about the internet rap boom; the talented people are releasing music in ridiculous volumes. Nacho Picasso is the first rapper to land Mixtape Of The Week twice. He won’t be the last.
Download Lord Of The Fly for free here.