NLE Choppa is one of my absolute favorite up and comers, and it honestly feels weird to even consider him an up and comer at this point. It seems like his success has skyrocketed and for good reason considering he has proved time and time again that he’s one of the best young artists making music in the current day and age of Rap. At first, I was a bit worried that he’d get repetitive or dull after some time, but he quickly disproved this theory by proving just how dexterous and diverse he can be as a musician. Whether he’s spitting rapid bars, singing about his trials and tribulations, or finding a happy medium somewhere in the middle, he’s doing so in some of the most inventive ways which definitely keeps his sound fresh and always impressive.
Along with the announcement that his debut album is coming out a week from today is a brand-new single featuring Lil baby called “Narrow Road”. On this track, NLE takes a moment to truly talk about his tough upbringing and the struggles he has persevered through, including Lil Baby on this track in order to provide some addition details and stories of his own. The beat, created by the ever so talented Quay Global, starts out with high-pitched, emotional synths that almost sound somewhat troubling or haunting, laying the groundwork for some very real and eye-opening narratives to be told. Eventually, when NLE comes in and starts singing, the beat drops and somewhat characteristic percussion and drums enter the scene and add a smooth tempo for NLE to share his stories.
There is obvious autotune and other effects on his voice, but these things definitely compliment his delivery flawlessly as he raises and lowers the pitch of his voice consistently as if he was riding a rollercoaster. To end the hook and go into his verse, he raises his pitch even higher, stretching out certain words and allowing them to echo off into the distance in such appealing ways. There is a passion that shines through within his aggressive delivery that does a notably impressive job of sharing just how painful some of these experiences are for him, but he shares them anyways as a sort of coping mechanism or therapy session, in a way. Towards the end of his verse, there is a desire and a hunger within his delivery that comes through stronger than ever before, catching your attention and captivating you for the rest of his portion of the track.
When Lil Baby comes in, he speaks very candidly and emotionless as his delivery almost comes off like he is lecturing someone due to the fact that he’s so stern and serious about the subjects he’s discussing. Throughout his entire verse, I was waiting for him to ditch this subdued cadence and raise the vigorousness within his delivery, but he never does this and remains with his firm, unsympathetic style that he began with. I’m okay with this, also, because it’s a nice juxtaposition to NLE’s lively, emotional delivery that is on full display throughout his various portions of the song. When you look at the lyrics they’re spitting, it’s obvious why they’re so serious and passionate about these topics. Some of the things they talk about include the drugs they’re addicted to, having to fight to survive in the streets, recognizing the ones who have their back and calling out the fakes, and the successes they’re thankful for because of how hard they’ve been working to achieve a better life for themselves and their families.
Of course, I do love the meaningless, hyped-up party anthems that NLE Choppa has made abundantly in the past because he always spazzes on those, but songs like this just take his talents to an entirely new level. Not only does he also spaz on here, he also shares very meaningful narratives that are not only appealing to hear, but I’m sure they’re also important for him to share as a way of remembering his past and appreciating the blessings he now has in the present. Lil Baby was an easy choice for this track, I’m assuming, because he shares similar experiences through a comparable upbringing, so they both understand each other’s backstories and can sympathize with one another as well as elevate each other’s stories. Top Shotta is the name of NLE’s upcoming album that is set to release next Friday, August 7th, and I couldn’t be more excited. I know there’s going to be a whole buffet of different styles that he’s going to share and I’m sure it’s going to be even better than I can even anticipate, so be on the lookout for more announcements regarding the project in the forthcoming week. For now, take some time and peep the album’s latest single “Narrow Road” featuring Lil Baby.