ATL rapper Mellah Nix stays consistent, which is something you have to respect. His sound/vibe contrasts a lot of what’s out right now — in a good way. Think of it like Lil B and Kool Keith, but with a more grounded straightforward approach to bars that more closely matches a tempo of someone like, say, Charles Hamilton. It’s been about a calendar year since we last approached one of his projects, so we eager dives into Nerd English 700.
As with his past projects, Mellah Nix plays his nerdcore aesthetic to just the right degree, with becoming too offputting or corny; however, that’s not to say he isn’t unorthodox. “32X” for example evokes imagery of a cartoon version of Mellah floating around tripping balls with Kirby — while dropping video game-centric references. But, don’t let this fool you into thinking the whole album will require any level of comic/video knowledge to follow.
“Dishwasher” is a scenario about a “dishwasher with a vision” and a girl from a much different social circle. “I’m a dishwasher, I’ve got a lot of love to give,” he laments before rhetorically asking “does it have to cost?”
I found a few of the best gems on the project reside on the latter half; “Imma Stay N3rd” is the clear lyrical standout.
“Tom Bo1” was another fave around the office, as he walks us through meeting a girl and spending what appears to be an afternoon with her. There are a lot of clever punch’s here, like “got soul like De La, that’s Trugoy.” His flow over the Diana Ross sample is on point; would love to hear him on an entire project that sounds like this.
There is a healthy amount of “freestyle” reworkings in play. His version of “Panda” is creative, but the gross oversaturation of the song itself makes it feel way too late and out of place. He wins, though, when exploring sounds that fall a little more out of his usual style, like on “Proclamation Ins P Her Ation, where he tackles the DJ Premier remix of Craig David’s “Seven Days.”
Mellah Nix is a unique soul in a sea of sameness, and his particular brand of nerd doesn’t come off as a crutch at all. He can spit, and Nerd English 700 has enough versatility to open a few new lanes for him.