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High & Mighty

The Stranger picked High & Mighty as the very best album of 2013, saying that:

Released on the very last day of October, High & Mighty has three things that make it the top record of the year. First, the production on this album is just solid. From the first track (the darkling “Crime Waves”) to the last (the brilliantly twisted “Sounds Like the Outro”), the music keeps the listener engaged and pleased. High & Mighty does not have a single weak or lazy beat. Second, it has a unified sound that corresponds with reason three: Nacho Picasso’s rap mode. His rhymes pulsate just above the subliminal, often spiral into the surreal and pornographic, are often packed with references to deep and dark parts of popular culture, and imagine a nocturnal 206—a 206 that never sleeps but is also not really awake, existing in the twilight of the two states. High & Mighty is a record Seattle can be proud of.

Seattle hip-hop blog 206UP also picked this record as one of the “Top 10 Albums of 2013,” saying that:

Nacho Picasso branches out sonically on High & Mighty, which makes for his best release since 2011’s For The Glory. Nowhere to be found on H&M are common collaborators Blue Sky Black Death, but that doesn’t necessarily mean the atmosphere is lighter. Here we have out-of-Towners Swish and Swiff D providing gothic, trap-inspired soundscapes, in addition to local heavyweights Vitamin D and Jake One on more densely composed beats.

And of course Nacho, possessor of the most recognizable voice in Seattle right now, is in rare form, laying out his bleak philosophy on life on “Crime Waves”, making (ahem) fowl assertions on the opposite sex on “Duck Tales”, and laying out the skeletons in his closet on the emotionally bare “Alpha Jerk”. In 2012, it was often difficult to see the forest for the trees in Nacho Picasso and BSBD’s collabs: too many clouds shrouding the deeper layers of the rapper’s complex psyche. High & Mighty, though, is a step through the looking glass, lyrically and beat-wise, and it results in a much more intricate picture.

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For The Glory

Seattle hip-hop blog 206UP picked this record as one of the “Top 10 Albums of 2011,” saying that:

Emerging from a Cloud (Nice, that is) of weed smoke and comic book sound effects is Nacho Picasso. Even blazed-up and squinty-eyed this dude is more clever than your average MC, dropping punchlines quippy enough to win the affection of both your girlfriend and high-brow music publications. For The Glory‘s arrival on the scene correlates perfectly with the sonic trends going on in the greater rap arena. Production duties were handled by Blue Sky Black Death, whose hazy take on the Cloud Rap aesthetic fits in nicely next to the genre’s currently favored albums. The star here is inarguably Nacho himself, though. Holding a Marvel comic book in one hand and a Desert Eagle in the other, the man otherwise known as The Tat in the Hat is poised to introduce his specific branch of Seattle rap to the rest of the nation.

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AntiHero Vol. 2

“iGo,” the opening track on Nacho Picasso’s 2017 release, AntiHero Vol. 2, was playing in my headphones. The vocals bounce around, across several voices. I went to look up who all the featured rappers were on this track, and to my surprise, it’s all Nacho, playing different characters, different intonations, inhabiting different bodies. A few songs later, I thought, “Into The Night” should be suffixed, “feat. Nacho Picasso,” even though it’s his record because here the opening vocals from Mistah F.A.B. and Kobe set up the pins for Nacho to walk in with the assassin’s verse and strike ‘em all down. This guy is a town talent, with impressive range and unorthodox idiosyncrasy. As evidenced by this cover, he’s also a big fan of anime, a genre filled with adolescent fantasies and multi-tentacled monsters terrorizing the orifices of every teenage schoolgirl. The songs on this record are fantasies of excess, too: sex and death and violence. (And a few of those monstrous tentacles.) “I’m on some murder shit,” he raps on “Cereal Killer,” before cracking a joke. Indeed, a lot of these songs are laugh-out-loud funny. On “Somehow (Feat. Raz Simone)” he suggests, “I got a dark past, so bring a flashlight.” The single “Queen of the Dammed” orbits around a deceptively simple loop, and will be permanently stuck in your head. This is but one in a recent series of collaborations with Harry Fraud. You’re encouraged to seek them all out, including 2018’s The Role Model EP, on all them streaming services.

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Exalted

I imagine Nacho Picasso to be an excellent chess player. In an age of Kendrick-esque speed-demon rap, Nacho provides refreshing counterpoint–carefully placed and methodically draped defiant verses over beats before coming in for the kill. Exalted was released in 2012, and is the third of four collaborations with Blue Sky Black Death, a hip-hop production duo from SF. There’s heavy use of synths here. Fav track of mine is “4th of July” a Seattle name-check, pedigree diss track. His is the rap of unrestrained ego, dolled out in slow motion, and listening on headphones, well, it’s hard not to feel cool.

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