This is a good hip-hop album because Uncommon Nasa goes all over the place musically and lyrically. I don’t mean he’s rapping offbeat or just saying things that are random or abstract in a Cappadonna fashion, but it reminds me of a time when Kool Keith, Jungle Brothers, and J-Zone could come up with a wide assortment of different things and it would take the listener to find a way to tie it all together. Uncommon Nasa takes things back to a certain place and time with New York Telephone and with a title that refers to a dead technology, it sets you into the world when all hip-hop seemed endless and fearless.
It feels like a basement album, the type of music you can sense was written in the kitchen or basement, writing everything down with rough drafts down by his feet, only for him to be surrounded by the equipment and get deep into the project. It feels like an album we all used to fall in love with because while it had a raw feel, it sounded perfect. Just to be able to hear a drum snare here, a bass stab there, and a cowbell that would make you go “I KNOW WHERE THAT CAME FROM!” is what made your day, week, or month. “1999 seems like a long time ago” is what he talks about in “Feedback Loop”, where he reflects on what life was like before 9/11, and how it felt as if his youth ended that day, or at least it was a way for him and many others to grow up when they weren’t ready.
Even if some of the tracks may come off as spontaneous, there is a continuity throughout, one that has Uncommon Nasa merely saying “stay with me and ride to the finish line”. There may not be a direct moral to the story, it may be an assortment of stories but perhaps reaching the finale, it’s about experiencing something in full, knowing that you felt good and want to put that in your back pocket to enjoy it again.