By: Claudia Siregar |
As one of the rising stars in the Indonesian hip hop music scene, it’s no surprise that A. Nayaka has been actively releasing music and playing at different venues (recently with The Blue Room Boys at The Sounds Project and Parc19) around Jakarta. One of his recent releases is his new album “Cadence Blue”, which won him an award (Hip Hop Album of the Year) earlier this year. What makes this album special is that it doesn’t only prove Nayaka’s exceptional flow as a rapper (we’ve got his previous release “Curriculum Vitae“ for that); it also shows us his emotional identity, versatility, and raw ambitions as an artist through his lyrical and musical prowess.
Let’s start with one of the most impressive tracks in the album: “School”, an urban hip hop anthem in which Nayaka collaborates with Emir Hermono, who has previously worked with him on “3 AM in Jakarta”, “SHE”, and “021”, and local rapper Laze, adding a touch of Bahasa Indonesia to the “mainly-sung-in-English” album. Other than “School”, tracks such as “Grow On Me”, “Southside Anthem”, and “With You, With Me” are also a part of what makes the album special. These tracks sound nothing like the usual upbeat, all-about-the-nightlife Nayaka tracks you’d find on his previous releases, with heavy trap influences and gloomy yet chill vibes. This time around, the lyrics get more personal as Nayaka mostly raps about his deep, raw emotions, still combined with references to certain elements of the modern urban life (e.g. his mentions of Instagram), something he’s well-known for as a lyricist.
Tracks such as “Chemical Reaction” and “Harvey Dent” further prove Nayaka’s versatility as a musician. Both “Chemical Reaction”, decorated with lo-fi R&B influences, along with “Harvey Dent” (plus score for his reference to the DC villain), in which he seems to be talking about an encounter with a two-faced lover-turned-enemy, provide us with Nayaka singing smoothly in his lower register – yes, the rapper can sing too, guys. Not only he presents us with trap and lo-fi R&B influences and his vocals, Nayaka also includes his jazz and blues-influenced works with his high school band The Blue Room Boys in the album with the interlude “Blue Room (Skit)” and the track “Live from the Blue Room”, getting listeners up close and personal with his music and his friends.
Overall, Nayaka’s album is a proof of his versatility and ambition. Having worked with a big name such as Emir Hermono on the album and making sure that the production quality is up to par, it’s safe to say that Nayaka is set to succeed as a rising star with “Cadence Blue”. We wish him the best of luck and to see him and The Blue Room Boys in action again next year.
Favourite track: Harvey Dent