"Shouts out to Nate, I jackball and I bop I flex." It's been four years since Chance the Rapper belted out this line on "Pusha Man"; and though it was undoubtedly a reference to DJ Nate's "Gucci Goggles", it was also likely a tip of the cap to the producer who shaped many of the sounds on Acid Rap, Nate Fox. Since the days of Acid Rap, many of the names and faces who helped produce the mixtape have moved on, with their last collaborative project being Donnie Trumpet & The Social Experiment's Surf.
Nico Segal (also known as Donnie Trumpet) and Nate Fox team up after years of relative silence to create Intellexual. The debut self-titled project showcases all of the attributes that make these two special by loosely grasping the theme of genre and remaining undefined in their quest for a sound.
The idea that this album will stick to one defining sound is thrown out as soon as you look at the tracklist. Featuring guests range from Vic Mensa to Knox Fortune, with many of these guests calling the duo's native Chicago home as well. The dreamy piano loops and harmonies that introduce the album are long forgotten by the time the listener is at just song two, where Jean Deaux's silky vocals are embraced by a funky baseline and a teasing trumpet.
The album moves through its soundscapes as an intimate affair of the senses, never feeling cluttered or out of place. Each song is a creative interpretation of a genre, with the artists cleverly bending the sounds to their will. The lead-guitar strings from "Money" sound like they could have been pulled straight from a Flying Lotus tape before finding a more airy space where the guitars are met with a building violin and shaking percussion. The atmospheric, almost interlude tracks on this thing almost create something more substantial than the songs that feature vocals.
By combining the creative elements of Fox's production to Nico's skillful trumpet provides endless possibilities. The child-like fearlessness in which creativity is spun by these two produces an imaginative product that stands tall in a field of cautious minds.
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