NBA fans rejoice; you’ll be hearing Shaquille O'Neal mumbling promos for this during broadcasts when fans leave to grab nachos before the unicyclist starts the halftime show.
In 2015, NGHTMRE was one of many artists trying to pave a path to future bass relevance in the post-Big Room landscape that Flume helped foster. Publicists floated the words “rising” and “promising” in their press releases in order to inflate their clients’ influence (like they always do), but Tyler Marenyi, during his rise, epitomized those adjectives with raw talent. He quickly became a top sound designer with his crunchy bass patches and ability to produce across the genre spectrum. NGHTMRE released a gorgeous remix of Just A Gent’s “Limelight.” Then he unveiled his forward-thinking breakthrough solo single “Street.” Then he dropped the mammoth Boombox Cartel collaboration ”Aftershock.” NGHTMRE essentially blended trap and future bass before it was cool.
Fast forward to winter 2019, when NGHTMRE decided to slither into our radar with a “collaboration” featuring Shaquille O’Neill and Lil Jon called “Bang," where the Big Shaqtus is nowhere to be found except the song's title. It’s painful to see artists like Alison Wonderland, San Holo and Boombox Cartel, who came up at the same time as NGHTMRE with similar sounds, evolving their artistry while he panders to the trap community with a brain cell-melting dubstep arrangement featuring a screeching Lil Jon and even a shotgun sample at one point. Alison released her critically acclaimed sophomore album Awake last year. San Holo won an Edison Pop Award for his celebrated album1 LP. Boombox Cartel has emerged as a trap fan favorite and released a widely praised indie single in collaboration with Panama. “Bang,” though, is a major step back. It’s not a hopeful allusion of what’s to come from someone who was once one of bass music’s brightest stars, but a truly disheartening gimmick from someone trying to remain relevant.
Regardless of the genre or era, every artist eventually hits their apex; it’s a bittersweet concept, but also an unwritten eventuality that they all have to acknowledge at some point. It’s the artists who prolong their prime, however, who make a lasting impact. Take Skrillex for example, who played an integral role in Tyler’s early success after heavily supporting “Street” and the landmark NGHTMRE and Flux Pavilion collaboration “Feel Your Love” on the festival circuit. Skrillex’s career began as a dubstep artist before he solidified himself as a pioneer and eventually morphed into a contemporary pop/electronic crossover mainstay. “Bang” isn’t representative of that kind of progression; it is an embarrassing attempt at a tour de force from an artist who is agonizingly capable of one.
As Andy Bernard once said in The Office, “I wish there was a way to know you're in the good old days before you've actually left them.” For trap music fans, there is a way after all: “knock your f****** head” like Lil Jon urges you to in this song and hopefully give yourself an aneurysm so you forgot you heard it in the first place.