We have been following the progression of EQ for about 9 months to a year now at SAC and have been impressed at every stop along the way; Nonfiction is no exception. EQ delves into himself and exposes a wide array of skills, styles, thoughts and emotions he encounters on his journey in. This album is a combination of lyricism that’s battle-ready, smoothed out, braggadocio, reflective, progressive, hopeful, realistic, etc. – a well rounded mixtape. Not only does EQ have skills with cadences rapping, he also flexes melodically, singing many of the hooks and backing vocals. His “impeccable ethic [from] Monday to Sunday” is quite obvious all the way through Nonfiction.
Those Kids is the album opener and EQ comes out of the gates at full speed. The track is full of metaphor and is a introduction to EQ and his team and a big up to the hustle with which they are collectively working to build their place in the world – in the next track he even calls this place an “empire”. From the Stoop follows with smoothed out production and delivery, but the gentleness with which the message is delivered does not soften the blow to the listener’s gut as EQ demands that people take the music (his and music in general) seriously and shares just how committed he is. EQ then lets us know that he can sing with Let Me Know. This track is reminiscent of an Usher track circa 2000 or so and is a quick in and out. The listener is then invited into EQ’s Sacred Places as he describes the place he is at, one in which he doesn’t consider any place home and where his hustle is somewhat misunderstood and still being defined, much like home. Fxxx You Cupid actually pulls EQ out of what I might call his “character” as an emcee, both in delivery and somewhat in content. The song is probably my least favorite on the album. Interestingly juxtaposed with the previous song, When We Met is a track about the pain associated with love lost, which I suppose could be the cause the animosity toward the the bow and arrow wielding cherub. It is refreshing to hear an emcee reveal areas of vulnerability in his music, when most of hip hop, especially in the mainstream, is caught up in hiding vulnerability. Do not get it confused though, EQ is a badass on the mic and makes sure to follow up his vulnerability with some braggadocio, letting us all know that The Danger is Real. At something around 20 years old, EQ maintains his relevance in the current landscape of music with the pop-friendly Last Light in This Town, in which he sings and spits rapid fire lyrics atop and electronica-influenced beat. The rest of the album follows suit and is mostly piano-heavy, electronic, melodic music – and excellent way to wind down to a close.
The project as a whole is excellent, honest and can connect with a wide range of listeners. Nonfiction is well worth the disk space and download time, especially at no financial cost to the consumer. Please continue to support independent music, and the artists who make it, by downloading this album and by spreading the word about Nicolas “EQ” Hunt and his team as they take hip hop by storm.
Peace and Love,