Your Old Droog represents a very active undercurrent of indie Hip-Hop artists who absorbed the best of what the 90s was offering: originality, concept, creative sampling, storytelling; and produced one the most compelling EPs of 2014: the self-referencing “Your Old Droog” EP. The EO drew comparisons to NaS, and all kinds of outrageous theories about the man’s identity. I was also a victim of this very organic of hybebeasts: the songs alone had me captivated and wondering, “could this be Nas writing for Game over Salaam Remi beats”? But, I, and the rest of the world, could not be more wrong. Droog, as it turns out, is a Russian-born Brooklynite with clear-cut influences from NYC’s 90s heyday, but he just absorbed all the best elements of it.
Fast forward to now, after the impact of “Your Old Droog” settled in and his subsequent release, “Kinison” further cementing his particular tastes in rocking out with his team of bold producers, Droog continues down a path of quality, sincerity, and creativity in his latest EP release, “The Nicest.” Leading off with the not-so-conspicuous “We Don’t Know You”, the mellow piano melody and brick-hard drums accentuate Droog’s very direct observations of the changing world and about his current ascension. Droog always displays a certainty and stoicism about his views on life, art, and conflict. These themes expand greatly on “Through The Nose ” and “Wave Rider”, both excellent songs the dial up the chill factor, but Droog manages to keep a simmering menace to the truths he faithfully expresses on these songs.
Droog closes out the EP with sarcastic wit and inventive bars on “Word”, “Listen”, and “Have A Nice Day”; all songs displaying different moods from the MC, while keeping his opinions plain, hilarious, and poignant. Droog’s penchant for pop culture references and eclectic production have carved out a career based on quality, substantive music people probably didn’t know they wanted until they heard “Bad to the Bone” from YoD. Getting to a point where his confidence and self-awareness are complete is most apparent aspect of “The Nicest”; a sense of completion that is well-deserved, but only a greater indication of the music to come.