N.A.P. – The Highway is long and fascinating
N.A.P. is a Boston native R&B artist, a part of a bigger hip-hop collective called SubCulture this up and comer has just released his first solo effort titled “Highway”.
The album kicks off with smooth sounds in Streetlight, a masterfully mixed piece for a debut project. The beats are a highlight right off the bat, with a relaxed groove this opening song is a modern classic R&B song that I wish we would see more of. The chorus is catchy and will have you hooked for sure, and this is only the first song!
Backseat Driver is a meandering late night drive song, the type of track you want to have on when you can’t sleep and just need to drive. Which carries us into the next track, similarly themed I-95. I-95 is a vocal showing for N.A.P, and while that voice may not be perfect it does exactly what it needs to. N.A.P. will grab you and drag you along for this dark and moody ballad. The featured vocals near the end of the track is a highlight on an already good track, adding just another note of something different to show the variety that is present on Highway.
Lockout; a slower tempo club style hit. With a repetitive nature across this song, it may not be the strongest on the album however this is absolutely the type of song that would do well in a club to get people dancing slower and closer. Mileage is uneven, the weakest vocal range on the album so far. Yet the lyrics and passion are clear, which means that fans of ambient R&B will still love this track.
Explosive carries on in the slower mood driven style, the lyrics build up and up but the music never explodes like the title might have us believe. It does suit the song to build with no release however, the energy and tension are clear and will leave you wanting more. Letting off some of that steam comes Cruise Control, featuring a stunning verse by Relzy Chase which knocks it out of the park. A hard hitting end verse to an already great song, Cruise Control picks up the energy again and reminds us how well crafted this debut is.
Fenderbender, starts to close out the album on N.A.P.’s signature slow R&B style. Featuring another great showing of his vocal talent, N.A.P. is in his element here for sure. To finish off the album strong, Open Road is exactly what we need. With an opening that contrasts the earlier beats to the album, a simple piano backs the intro to this tune. A subtle hand is shown here, with minimal production compared to the earlier pieces on the album. The song builds up towards the end, raising your energy and showing off raw emotion and passion that will leave you impressed and waiting for more.
Overall Highway is a strange piece, at times repetitive and a little too restrained with it’s energy. N.A.P. shows off a range of talent in his debut, while I may feel some pieces are lacking it can not be denied that fans of an ambient and moody R&B are going to find this album an incredibly stunning journey. Definitely recommended for fans of R&B, and if you aren’t a fan yet you just might be after giving N.A.P. a chance to show you what you are missing out on.