Nolan The Ninja - SPORTEE (LP)
Let’s just get it out the way: Nolan the Ninja can really really rap. We’re talking about the ability to leave the mic in body bags like a long-lost tenth member of the Wu-Tang Clan and the gift to spit something so explosive that it makes you believe that he could’ve supplied an ideal third verse on Nas and AZ’s “Life’s a Bitch.”
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.
With Sportee, Nolan annexes new terrain within well-established territory, tapping deeply into the lineage of ferocious Detroit rhymers. This is that slaughtering attack that stunned you the first time you heard J Dilla’s “Fuck the Police,” Elzhi’s Europass, Phat Kat’s Carte Blanche or Danny Brown in the Detroit State of Mind-era.