Paper Nolassnaym

Capping off an impressive run of NBA/ABA player themed EPs from Paper Nolassnaym and Luke Crowder is Penny Hardaway. If you’re unfamiliar with Penny, he had a great run that was often offset by injuries. He also had, quite arguably, the greatest basketball shoe ever with the Nike Air Foamposite One (willing to hear arguments for Dennis Rodman’s Shake Ndestrukt and Shawn Kemp’s Kamikaze II though). Anyway, what you’ve got here is an EP worthy of the understated smoothness Hardaway was exhibiting when he was in full form.

You’re definitely going to know Lil’ Penny if you’re familiar with Penny, so when the EP starts off with a throwback reel of his (voiced by Chris Rock), you can’t help but feel a bit of delighted nostalgia. From there you get a slick saxophone that puts you in the back of a smoky underground jazz environment, like you walked into someplace from the past that you wonder how many people knew existed. The beat comes into play and layers the sax tightly in the background while Nolassnaym’s verbal movement serves as a counterpoint to the mood. His style is an object in motion working outside of the expected norms that somehow matches perfectly.

With a solid classical guitar feel being used in the production you get an interesting unveiling of where the title for “Raphael De la Ghetto” comes from as Nolassnaym bounces from peers to family to the personal in just a few leaps. His own enlightenment/renaissance came from sources unfamiliar to a lot of folks, but he’s honest and knows where he’s been. Finally, “Dripping” closes up shop. The upright bass opening makes this particular EP seem like an education in the music that inspired a generation that then inspired a whole new world of music. A female voice introduces “sophistication and elegance,” and that’s what you get with a 90s R&B vibe coupled with big string arrangements that swing in and out. The mood gets a bit ominous at the close, but I guess we’ll see where that goes later.

For now, Paper Nolassnaym and company have something pretty interesting in store when it comes to their collection of EPs. They’re putting them all together, and they have some pretty unique packaging planned for the release. We're not sure how much we can say about the upcoming release, but it’s one of the coolest packaging concepts we’ve heard about in a while. So stay tuned, and we’ll have a lot more to say about that. Joey Smith