San Francisco based Solidarity Records is a hip-hop label dating back to the 1990's now operating under the leadership of Equipto, with a strong focus on homegrown talent from the Cali scene. The latest plant to grow out of that turf is NIM-ONE, who doesn't come on the scene like a small potted plant. "The 13th Disciple" is more like a full fledged hydroponic project at over an hour in length and packing 23 tracks. From the jump NIM grabbed my attention with songs like "Dirty Cops" featuring DJ Apollo - scratching in KRS-One's "Sound of Da Police" to good effect.
The accent and flow immediately remind me of the Hieroglyphics collective - at times NIM could be a mistaken for Saafir too. He's definitely a product of his environment, having the long drawn out "awww" when he spits about "sheisty dudes flossin hella hard" - not hard but HAWWD. This particular track is courtesy of JDEF as are a majority of songs on "The 13th Disciple," and it turns out to be a good collaboration. "I guess knowledge seems sinister to the ignorant" quips NIM on "Sinister," a track laced with appropriately menacing piano and percussion. It's all in how you loop it though - because when JDEF wants to keep it light and refreshing the same elements create the opposite effect on "Little Man."
If you're not familiar with the local scene then the list of guest collaborations may not mean much to you. The aforementioned Equipto cameos on "A Lil Sumthin" along with Dags of Dnh, while White Mic adds to the brassy and bottom heavy "Born 2 Succeed," and "Bawl Out" brings Mercy into the mix for some edgy rude bwoy hip-hop. Whether or not these names are a surprise to you, it comes as a surprise to me that I haven't heard from NIM-ONE before now. He's not you're average hip-hop artist. "Cries of Surprise" hints at the depths of the album: "They say we lack unity/the whole attitude is like 'Fuck your community!' .. Trigger happy police ain't too peace with us/how to conquer the beast if the beast is us?"
NIM-ONE is an unexpected pleasure and "The 13th Disciple" shows that Solidarity Records is not to be slept on in 2014 and beyond.
Music Vibes: 6.5 of 10 Lyric Vibes: 6.5 of 10 TOTAL Vibes: 6.5 of 10
Originally posted: August 5, 2014