Jah connery | nah
An Optimistic-Nihilist, Detroit Rap Classic
DETROIT, MI -- As we all privately put the dumpster fire that was 2020 behind us, many of us are reflecting on the choices we were forced to make and just thinking “NAH…” In that spirit, Jah Connery gives you an album of the same name, featuring socially-distanced collaborations from wordsmiths Pseudo Slang, Intricate Dialect, A7mc, WarrenPeace, as well as producers Mr. Demented, and Victor Hall.
Nah is Jah Connery’s answer to a year that demanded a great deal of self-reflection for the average person. Having undergone remarkable change himself, Connery sought to package this vibe into his own brand of hip hop that draws on influences as disparate as J Dilla and Tom Waits. Weaving moods of jazz, soul, analog fusion, punk, and even Buddhist chants into a tapestry that is still decidedly hip hop, it may actually be Connery’s unique lyricism that will cement this album as one of 2021’s favorite rap records.
While Nah is an ode to shaking one’s head at the cultural and political choices on offer in late-stage capitalist America, it doesn’t come across as nihilism. It certainly is a project borne out of pandemic-related-isolation and the aftermath of a divorce, but the journey taken by the listener is led by an individual who knows where they stand amidst the push and pull of the social forces all around him. The album artwork, by Carmel Liburdi, depicts a cartoon version of Connery levitating serenely between various islands of trash. Connery doesn’t sugarcoat the challenges of being an avant-garde hip hop artist making music alone in his room, a la Daniel Johnston (tributed on the album’s third track). Still, one can’t help but think these songs had to be written in order to help process complicated, human feelings, perhaps best exemplified in the album’s penultimate song, “Joy Rocker.”
“...surreptitious thinking-man's satire in the form of facetious rhymes”
- Jeff Milo, DeepCutz
… A quote about Connery’s recently-split group Large Extra Large, that could be just as easily applied to Nah. This release marks the first full-length solo album from Connery in over a decade, since his 2010 sophomore album Nothing Will Be Alright, with only a couple of EP’s released in between - Girls, Man in 2012 and last year’s concept EP Henry Hill - both long enough to be considered LPs themselves by today’s “here’s six loosies” model of material release. Filling the gaps between those efforts, Jah busied himself recording and performing throughout Michigan and the Midwest with two highly respected hip hop groups - first with Leaf Erikson in the legendary Detroit underground duo Smash Television, and later with WarrenPeace in the aforementioned dad-rap duo Large Extra Large. Connery produced the lion’s share of the music for all of these projects, as well as ROOKS (with Duece Freight), and contributions to Assemble Sound Detroit (ProducerHaus with Illingsworth), Pseudo Slang’s Hardscrabble EP. This would be an impressively prolific run for anyone, let alone a father of two young children who also works a job and occasionally goes back to school full-time. With this new release, it is clear that Jah has a whole lot of beats left in the chamber, and a ton of dense wordplay to go with it.
It’s no secret that 2020 was a wash as far as live music is concerned, but Connery is eager to get back to an active schedule of performing in 2021. In the meantime, he will be hosting a streamed performance to debut Nah, as well as other music created since the stay-at-home orders forced performers to sit still. This stream will be held on January 19, 2021 at 9pm via Connery’s Twitch channel and available on YouTube thereafter.
Jah Connery - Nah will be available on cassette and digital download at Modern Knot Artists as well as all major streaming platforms on January 20, 2021. All inquiries can be sent directly to email@example.com
All photos by Carmel Liburdi