May 7, 2019
Tune-In Tuesdays #17: An Open Letter by Nicotine
An Open Letter coverSource: An Open Letter | GENIUS
An Open Letter is the seven track album released by the Houston-based female rap artist Nicotine that seeps truth over soft, snappy beats.
A Bit of Context…
Currently, Nicotine is on tour and working on the follow-up EP to An Open Letter, according to her Spotify profile.
An Open Letter
An Open Letter inside coverSource: An Open Letter | GENIUS
The album begins with the intro track An Open Letter (Intro), a powerful slam poem delivered as a letter to an ex over a relaxed, percussion-driven beat.
With the intro, Nicotine sets the tone for the rest of the album. Her flow and lyricism lure the listener in with her eloquent way of punctuating her message with explicit language and imagery.
“I begged for negligence –Source: An Open Letter: the Introduction | GENIUS
While you begged to eat my pussy –
But I wanted you to starve!!”
Tired is a dreamy blend of rhythmic guitar, delicate sound effects, light drums, and a melody directed by Nicotine’s soft background vocals.
I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings is a beautiful plea in which Nicotine “sings away all the pain.” The track is defined by the heartfelt acoustic guitar and the tambourine breathes soul into the song.
A Few Words from Sol (Interlude) draws the album back to its central, poetic element. The interlude is delivered by fellow musician Sol Galeano, who warns the young girl in the poem of the “snakes in the garden.”
This interlude further emphasizes the themes of female empowerment and healing present throughout the album.
Bantu Knots and Boudain is a playful diddy that puts a new-age spin on the bouncy beats that defined hip-hop throughout the ’90s and the ’00s.
This nostalgic track gives us a glimpse into Nicotine’s life.
My favorite track on the album, Running, is quiet and airy. Nicotine opens her heart as she sings about how exhausting it is to run the streets, broke and hungry, when all you want is to go home.
The chorus is beautiful and hypnotizing. Half way through the song, there is a glitch-like transition that is downright sick.
“I can’t be running these streets / No more / My mind is fogged / Inside of this four door” Nicotine raps repeatedly following the transition as the song fades out.
Closure (Outro) neatly packages the album with a final slam poem.
“If I die young / Tell the world about my music,” Nicotine begins over an emotional yet upbeat piano instrumental. She raps the lines of her poem as if it is a will and an award ceremony speech all at once.
The lyrics send the listener off with an open letter in which Nicotine shares her wisdom and experience.
Bug’s Two Cents
“Here, I’ve got an album you’ve got to hear,” said my partner, XtaSeay, while we were driving home late the other night.
I was hooked the moment I heard the lines, “Excuse me while I drop a bountiful donation into the swear jar / Because in these next few moments, I’m taking you for everything you are,” in An Open Letter (Intro).
I’m a sucker for good poetry – especially slam poetry.
I downright adore An Open Letter by Nicotine. I am awespired by her lyricism and captivated by her voice, her flow.
When I found out she plans on releasing a follow-up EP later this year, I couldn’t have been happier.
Nicotine’s work is as addictive as her name. I can’t wait for my playlists to get their next hit of her music.
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