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Time:Line (Extended Edition) [Explicit]
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Now with 2008 upon us, many fans are still anxiously awaiting for his sophomore effort from Foreign Exchange and his second volume of Dutch Masters. Since the launch of his new label last year (Nicolay Music Recordings), "Time:Line" is his first official independent release. Similar to "Connected", Nicolay shares the boards with Houston rapper Kay in a conceptual journey through the time of one's life: birth, death and afterlife.
"Time:Line" - The intro of the album with Kay pretty much describing himself, which sets the tone for the rest of the album. The arrangements sound like it could be used for a Gnarls Barkley track.
"Blizzard" - Full of old school vintage, I could see the hip-hop duo Camp Lo spittin' over this funky tune. Toby Hill adds some nice vocals as Kay describes his birth and childhood nostalgia.
"The Lights" - The life of a struggling superstar caught up in the sensationalism and hype of being famous, now slowly succumbing the pressures of drugs and materialistic gain.Read more ›
In a commercially-woven "rapestry" fixated on bejeweled, Bentley-driving blingsters with infinitely more money than sense, the genre has - in large part - become more a celebration of bombastic cliché than a collective of sublime creativity. Where NWA and Public Enemy painted groundbreaking, original pictures of an urban reality as yet unseen, today's pseudo-poets do little more than glamorize it for personal gain or product spin-offs, content with marketing to the lowest common denominator. Whew - I could use a Vitamin Water®.
But perhaps not all hope is lost. There is a largely unreported, parallel universe in hip-hop that does occasionally render a glimmer of hope. Living in this altered state are Dutch producer Nicolay and Houston-based MC, Kay. Their collaboration, titled Time:Line charts a semi-autobiographical character arch from life, to death and there-after.
Demonstrating a deft - if not sometimes heavy - hand for blending samples with live instruments, Nicolay lays a rich, musical foundation for Kay's lyrical rhymes. Kay's tone and cadence are at once fluid and assertive without being abrasive; his lyrics personal and vivid, but not above humor and self-deprecation. N & K aren't necessarily breaking any new ground with Time:Line, but what they have assembled is a competent, heartfelt collection that flows easily from start to finish.Read more ›
In terms of production, it's not Nic's best work, but it's still dope. The problem, if you can call it that, is Kay. While he's serviceable over Nicolay's production, he's very by-the-book with it and, as a result, he has trouble holding the attention of this particular listener. I don't know, maybe it's because I prefer hearing Nic's beats without lyrics. His 2005 release, City Lights, Vol. 1.5, is near classic in my book if not a bonafide classic.
Time:Line is a nice listen. It was underwhelming in spots, but it's still purchase worthy. Nicolay is still true to form on the boards and Kay, while coming up short in the charisma department, does manage to hold the album down for the most part. I'd recommend checking out the samples to make sure he's your cup of tea. If he passes the sample test, then you're in for a nice ride.
Standout Tracks: Through The Wind, What We Live, Tight Eyes (My Favorite), Blizzard, and I've Seen Rivers
Kay is a very good rapper, and adds a matching soulful flow to compliment the production. With that said though, he isn't quite spectacular enough to call this record a classic...as the production over powers his skills. Standout tracks include the guitar driven "Blizzard", the atmospheric "The Lights" with simply soothing background vocals from Nicole Hurst; "Through the Wind" boasts one of Nicolay's most infectious beats and Kay adds some excellent lyrics to match. The horn-filled "What We Live" stands out nicely. "The Gunshot" tackles raggae styled production excellently with the Fu-Schnickens' own Chip Fu making an appearance. "Grand Theft Auto" is also one of my favorites here, which features some of Kay's best lyrics.
On the whole, Nicolay & Kay turn out an excellent full-length virtually free of flaws. In all honestly, Kay is the reason this doesn't get the 5-star rating from me, since Nicolay's production is classically banging throughout. Simply put, Kay is no Phonte. Even still, don't let that deter you from checking out one of the best hip-hop albums of 2008.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Love the feeling and sounds of this album and the lyrics are on point I think this is some of Nicolays best production outside of foreign exchange. Read morePublished on December 19, 2012 by Jason
WOW JUST GOOD MUSIC BLEW ME AWAY PURE ARTIST SO REFRESHING TO HEAR IF YOUR A TRIBE DE LA J DILLA SLUM VILAGE FAN YOU MUST HAVE THIS !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!Published on January 11, 2011 by TIGHT EYES
I can't even describe how much I enjoyed this album. The beats are incredible, the lyrics are original - Nicolay and Kay make a perfect team. Read morePublished on May 24, 2009 by Lena D
Nicolay out did himself on this one. Its a lot better than the Here ablum.The production is amazing. You wont be disappointed.Published on December 22, 2008 by Mr. Smiff
BOTTOM LINE: Nicolay is the Betterman from the Netherlands! His musical catalogue is growing more impressive with each CD release. Read morePublished on July 8, 2008 by Big Willy
This is an oasis in a Hip Hop desert.
The beats are far more interesting and exciting than 99% of what is happening in Hip Hop these days. Read more
Not many albums are listenable from front to back nowadays. This one is. The combination of Kay and Nicolay is a treat. Highly recommended!Published on May 17, 2008 by DBDR