Review: “Parte De Mí” by Nicki Nicole

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Although Argentinian artist Nicki Nicole has found a niche merging silky R&B with hints of trap and reggaeton, her new album Parte De Mi opens in an unexpected way: with a gossamer piano ballad, dripping with nostalgia and loneliness. The song is guided by her delicate, almost bruised voice – which has drawn several comparisons to Billie Eilish – and she quietly embodies the project’s goal of capturing the 21-year-old in her full dimension, with every side of her brought to life. naked. The strategy here is to offer a lot of eclecticism, which undeniably shows Nicki’s range but ends up sacrificing some cohesion in the process.

Parte De Mi marks Nicki’s second album and her debut on Sony Music Latin, which picked her up in 2020. She started making music when she was just 19 years old and was a resounding success after uploading her tracks on YouTube, building on its association with trap in Argentina. The scene has exploded there in recent years and has become a source for labels looking for talent, despite being teeming with uncomfortable appropriation patterns from white rappers. Nicki has worked closely with the best trap groups in the country, including go-to producer Bizarrap (he’s featured twice on the album), but it was difficult to exactly characterize the singer / rapper as a trap artist. . She has used fluency to her advantage throughout her career, using it for things like a collaboration with Uruguayan rockers No Te Va Gustar and a surprise freestyle at a recent Tiny Desk.

She bounces between different sounds and different collaborators with ease: on “Toa La Vida”, she teams up with Puerto Rican rapper Mora, whose painful tone carries an emotional weight that has made songs, such as “Volando”, massive blows. She changes things completely for “Sabe,” an undeniably catchy track with Rauw Alejandro that takes full advantage of how easily the two can handle fast beats. But while versatility seems to be Nicki’s greatest asset, diving in and out of genres sometimes helps to Parte De Mi‘s less interesting times. Coincidentally, the trap-oriented sounds, like on “Tengo To”, get lost a bit in the mix; a reggae-inspired track with Dread Mar-I and Bizarrap also falls flat.

She is most successful when she finds compelling ways in her performance and unique phrasing style. “Si Vos Me Lo Pedis” and “Perdido” are for her the opportunity to string together her refrains a little more, which she does with confidence. “Pensamos” with Chilean singer Mon Laferte, reproduces some of the understated prettiness of the opening, but Nicki adds dimension by speeding up her flow without ever launching into full rap verses. It’s an inspirational moment on the album, and more importantly, a sign that she’s finding her voice.


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