In a haze of dissonance and decadent melodicism soon to become a little steadier, we’re given our first glimpse into the world of Slick Naim’s “Scary Slope,” the new single from the noted New York-stationed rapper, but as evocative as the original strands of harmony are, they represent only a drop in the bucket of beat-magic that is about to come pouring through our speakers.
The deluge is led by Naim himself, who gives a powerhouse vocal as much juice as he can muster without watering-down his lyrics with a lot of chest-beating machismo. The instrumental aspect of the track is tepid at first, but as we get deeper and deeper into the clutches of the hook, it becomes clear that every component in this song will be utilized as a weapon in the war on fall boredom at some point or another. With summer now officially beginning, the new recording season is in full swing, and ready to get started on the back of singles like this one, which I think belongs on any decent rap critic’s top ten list heading into July.
When Naim isn’t professing a rare kinship with his words in “Scary Slope,” he is colorizing the textures in the bass with his phenomenal voice. He’s a lot more melodic than he is gritty, but don’t let his prim and proper approach in the chorus fool you; this man knows how to get down and dirty when he has to. In the second minute of the track, he brings a slow rap-style influence into his flow, but only long enough to break up the fluidity of the synth harmony in the backdrop.
Naim could be switching gears about as often as he wants to, but he doesn’t come across as flustered or even remotely off his game in “Scary Slope” – contrarily, the duality of this composition works to highlight his versatility as a vocalist and as a wizard of articulate verses. He’s got mad game for this latest trip into the studio, which only makes me wonder just how good he’s going to be after getting a couple more records under his belt.
“Scary Slope” doesn’t change the course of hip-hop’s aesthetical trajectory, nor does it seek to alter the way that we collectively interpret things like harmony, rhythm, rhyme, and tonality. Instead, this erudite number wants us to take a step back from the labels, the brandings, the scene politics, and the mathy melodies if for no other reason than to bask in the glow of a sexy groove.
This isn’t earth-changing rap, but it’s unquestionably some of the more revolutionary work to see widespread release this month because of one reason and one reason alone – it’s humanized beyond what the status quo allows for. Slick Naim could’ve just as easily come out fronting with every ounce of fluff and filler that a player can get their hands on, but he didn’t do anything even slightly as silly. He’s owning his emotions with us in “Scary Slope,” and offering up something that no one else in the biz is this season.