LISTEN: Nickelus F x Shawn Kemp (aka LIL UGLY MANE) – Trick Dice

nickelus f lil ugly mane trick dice
Nickelus F x Shawn Kemp - Trick Dice

2015 has been generous, and it keeps giving. Yesterday Nickelus F, the underground rapper formerly known as Nick Fury, dropped an album produced entirely by Shawn Kemp, the producer persona of Richmond-hailing rapper-producer LIL UGLY MANE, entitled Trick Dice. While Nick is certainly a competent rapper in his own right, there’s no doubt this is a project centered in Lil Ugly’s idiosyncratic production. First impressions:

  • As usual with Lil Ugly-produced projects, the album’s sound palette is dominated by Lil Ugly’s eclectic mix of coolly textured jazz with harder southern hip-hop. The arrangement of “Protein” invokes Stevie Wonder, with gorgeous chord progressions and a twinkly key melody.
  • Nickelus is never offensively bad, but there are times his upbeat earnestness on the mic clashes with Lil Ugly’s usual sarcastic demeanor. At some points he even sounds like a rent-out J.Cole.
  • Project is a bit top-heavy, but the second side does boast “Gold Figaro,” “Emu (Neck Mix),” and “D.S.L.S,” some of the project’s best tracks.

Also included with the album is a Lil Ugly instrumental tape called the “Cold Rock Sex Bug” beat tape. Preview and buy both projects here.

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