By Tyrus Agiro
I first had the pleasure of meeting Mr. Niday on the RapGenius forums, where he posted some of his beats for other users to enjoy and critique; at first listen, I found him to be someone with an exceptionally good ear and a clear passion for music. So I was pleased when I got the opportunity to review “Mr. Niday Friday Night”. And I believe that the tape is a good representation of what Mr. Niday has to offer hip-hop artists (and musicians in general), though there are some technical missteps that I found disconcerting.
A Melting Pot and a Mood Ring
I am in no way a fan or proponent of country music, so I was quite surprised to hear the Band Perry’s “If I Die Young” in the opening track – and it works well. Dave Brubeck’s “Take Five” makes an appearance in the track of the same name, and “Big Bawse” seamlessly combines 8-bit gaming with dubstep sensibility (not that dubstep would like to be called “sensible”). This multi-genre compositional approach indicates that Mr. Niday regularly listens to/enjoys a decent range of music outside of hip-hop, meaning he has a wide variety of inspirations and sources at his disposal, which speaks to his potential for creating new beats with distinct characteristics thus avoiding the pitfall of becoming a one trick pony (I’m looking at you RedOne). And while Mr. Niday’s primary audience may be the burgeoning Hip-Hop/Rap artists of the world, several of his beats on “Friday Night” could be right at home with other genres or artists (“Humid Desert,” for one, could probably be found on a trance album). And for someone who just wanted to lay back and relax, the short but varied nature of the mixtape’s songs ensures that the listener will not get bored in the 23 minutes it’ll take to finish the set.
As for the “mood ring” imagery, it is not my intent to sound condescending or diminutive – I’m simply commenting on the (good) tonal/emotional spectrum of the songs on “Friday Night“ i.e. Mr. Niday makes effective use of both “hard” and “soft” beats.
When Less Is More…
For all my praise of its versatility, “Friday Night” does suffer from the occasional overindulgence. The closing track “Where You At” is awash with at least nine distinct musical cues/elements (including, to my great delight, a sample of Daft Punk’s “Aerodynamic”), but these elements are haphazardly stacked together with little thought as to how (or if) they complement each other and how they relate to the greater continuity of the track. It certainly works as a piece of avant-garde electronic music, but I am hesitant to tag it as a suitable beat for hip-hop or anything else marketable.
I also had some balance issues, and this is a problem that I’ve encountered in some of Mr. Niday’s other works. The largest offender was the opening track; I believe that the snare drum beat is way too strong in comparison to the song’s other elements. It not only overpowers the Band Perry sample in the song’s A section, but also dominates a B section that contains some interesting vocal and instrumental synths that struggle to shine from underneath the oppressive tapping. While the base/drum beat is arguably the most critical element of a hip-hop song, one should have good lyrical or thematic reasons for casting other elements of the beat to the four winds. This is something I hope Mr. Niday pays greater attention to in the future.
This is a fine effort from Mr. Niday: varied, multi-purpose, enjoyable. Time, practice and a second opinion will go a long way towards eliminating the technical issues I mentioned earlier. If you’re an aspiring rapper in need of a backing track or two, you could do far, far worse. Take the time to listen, and you won’t be disappointed.
“As Clear As Day”