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Wednesday, October 30, 2013

NMercer - Crossroads EP

NMercer - Crossroads EP
2013, NMercer

Naomi Mercer was a singer and songwriter without direction or authorial voice.  She found the latter and added rapper to her list of talents after moving to L.A.’s South Central for affordable housing.  Embracing the culture she found herself living in, NMercer’s voice emerged in the form of Emcee and firebrand rapper NMercer.  With a lyrical flow similar to Santigold and MIA, and a sense of humor reminiscent of a rough and raw Meryn Cadell, NMercer makes social dissections and observations in her songs wrought with snark.

NMercer opens with the title track, a low-key rap ruminating on her life direction and possible choices. The song features a quietly catchy chorus and dark electronic grooves with spaces out tendencies. "Steal It" is a post-feminist statement of strength based on the dance floor. It's a solid tune with a quietly powerful groove that will do well in the clubs. "Why U Gotta B So Fine" is whiney, softcore desire set to a beat; too disjointed to establish a groove and too disaffected to really catch on. "DB" is a kiss-off song stitched together from various clichés. There's little pop sensibility, and there's a sir of pose running through the music that's closer to Meryn Cadell folk than hardcore hip-hop. 

The rest of the EP is comprised of live tracks from various clubs. "My Friends" rehashes a 'better get with my friends' philosophy with a decidedly more fight club feel. NMercer acts her way through the process to an apparently unenthused crowd. "Crossroads" doesn't have significant changes from the studio to the love version, except that NMercer is a bit freer with her poetry at times. "Steal It" is similarly unaffected by the transition to live performance. The small crowd is obviously quite into this tune, however. 

"People Talk" is a mediocre diatribe against a man who is not up front with the ladies. There is too much crowd crosstalk during this recording to really get into the vibe, which tells you all you need to know about the song. "Like A White Girl" is bland and unmotivated, but segues into the modern shopping anthem, "Five Finger Discount".   NMercer glorifies shoplifting as an appropriate response to high prices, justifying theft based on the premise that everyone else is doing it. The song is entertaining on one level, but reflects a lack of original thought either lyrically or musically. 

NMercer is intriguing.  There’s real personality in her writing, but there’s also, at times, a cartoonish nature to NMercer’s style on Crossroads that sounds like a pose.  NMercer is going to get as much attention from the novelty music community as she does from the rap/hip-hop community.  Her sense of humor is over the top at times, but is inherent in who she is as an individual and an artist.  Crossroads perhaps find NMercer still staking out the boundaries of her persona and voice as a performer, but it sounds like she’s on the right track.

Rating: 3 Stars (Out of 5)

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