taking a listen

by Ryan Snyder

reviews of the moment


Former Urban Sophisticates bass slappa-ternt-rappa Ricky Nxumalo’s recording debut as Afika Nx was delayed a few months, but the wait was worth it. Like TI or Bobby Ray Simmons, Nx exhibits two very different personalities to create one extremely eclectic EP in RUSH WEEK. On one hand, he shows a willingness to reach out and rattle the club crew on the EP’s opening tracks with methodical, identifiable beats on the anthemic “Outta There” and the bragadocious “AKA,” the latter of which borrows the screechy fills of Rick Ross’ “BMF.” The lyrically focused “Alone Tonight” introduces another, more cerebral side to Nx with a plaintive, yet seductive bent. His flow lands somewhere between Curren$y and BoB, simultaneously juvenile and blithe, but assertive and confident. Lyrically, he has something interesting to say on every track. “Superstar” turns the vacuous summer-jam tradition into a chant for the rap snobs, and “BlueGold” is littered with unforced UNCG references and suave pick-up rhymes. Arguably the high point of the album comes at its conclusion, as Nx glides over the ethereal beat of “Criminal.” It’s almost useless to quote from his breathy verses as text bites simply wouldn’t do justice to the textures he puts across. RUSH WEEK is an excellent debut from a promising freshman talent that doesn’t even scrape the surface of is musical abilities. There’s a wealth of material that didn’t make it on the EP, including studio work with Ricco Barrino, but he’s such an accomplished bassist that you’d like for him to take a stab at making his own beats. Hopefully next time around the wait won’t be as long.


Afika Nx’s RUSH WEEK can be downloaded for free at