If we just boiled it down to supreme rapping virtuosity, the Detroit MC and producer’s Mello Music debut album SPORTEE, would easily rank as one of this year’s finest. But, a lot of young rappers love the 90s and can competently string syllables together. The assassin born Nolan Chapman does something that burrows much deeper. He isn’t merely awakening ancient spirits and infusing them with modern vitality, he’s channeling those timeless intangibles that allow art to become a form of magic.
The guests—Chuck Inglish, T3 of Slum Village, Latasha, Black Nix, Kooley High—all fit into Nolan’s world. You can practically feel the frozen Lake Michigan wind blowing through a crack in the car window, unrolled to let the billowing clouds of smoke out. SPORTEE reminds you that the past is always there, just waiting for the right talent to reinvent it. Hunger can’t be faked. Rawness can’t be approximated. Passion can’t be quantified, but you can definitely hear it. Nolan The Ninja embodies those intangibles as well as anyone in recent memory. Oh, and did we mention that he can rap well too?
Nolan The Ninja had this to say about his “Bloom” single:
“I wrote “BLOOM” after I wrapped up the first master of ‘SPORTEE’ last year. I was in a whole new space. It’s more of a ‘new chapter’ energy. At least, that’s what I aimed to channel. Something very relaxed but celebratory at the same time.”