A film about Northwest hip-hop from 2001
Art Of Da Griot
Nomad dropped his first cassette single in 1996, with “What Is Hard Core?” and “Windy City Hustle,” both produced by local hip-hop legend Mr Supreme. Then in ’98 Nomad released a twelve-inch featuring “Da Movement,” and “Blessed 2 Mic Check.” “Da Movement” brought DJ Sayeed on board, with his dissonant unique approach to beatmaking. Next in the run of Nomad singles was the three-song Sedated Thoughts maxi in 2000, including beats by three of Seattle’s most prolific producers, Jake One, Bean One, and Proh Mic. The following year saw a fourth single, “Worldwide,” with “Divine Rhymer” on the B-side.
Finally, after five years of singles he released a full album titled Art Of Da Griot, and expanded his name to the pleonastic Nomad Da Nomadic. “Griot” is a word used commonly in West Africa that translates loosely as “storyteller.” Art Of Da Griot features many of the earlier singles, including “Blessed,” “Sedated,” “Who Me,” “Worldwide,” and “Divine.” Because there are so many different producers, Nomad gets to show off his lyrics to a variety of different soundscapes, which makes for a compelling listening experience, never boring.
New material on Art Of Da Griot includes “Extortion” which starts with the tick, tick, tick from Kraftwerk’s 1978 electronic hit, “Man Machine,” and then unfolds with groovy momentum. The informative “206 / 101” is just like it sounds, an entry-level college course about the pros and cons of life in Seattle as a young Person of Color. “Locked up downtown, King County jail, like a rite of passage for every black male,” he observes. “Ill-Literate” stands out for its wavy, choppy beat and seasoned wordplay from Nomad. He often mentions “paying dues” in his lyrics, and it must have worked for him. He had risen to the top of the rap game in 2001, and the star studded credits on his tracks are all the evidence we need. Written by Novocaine132