Published Sep 23, 2014Nerdcore rapper-producer Mikal kHill drops this new collab album, signalling a new direction in sound in preparation for his next proper solo album. The beats, mostly self-produced, have more of a throwback hip-hop vibe compared to his previous work as a solo artist and as a member of the Thought Criminals duo with Sulfur. The production here also benefits from the addition of live guitar by Andy Weant, a highlight that provides a sense of spontaneity and improvisation to the music. Sometimes it's subtle, just a small part of the beat, while other times it becomes the dominant instrument, playing an important part on "Sinking Ship," for example, which even ends with a guitar solo. But it's not only about the guitar; the layers of violin and other strings on "Light of Day," especially when combined with the hard-hitting drums, make for an excellently heavy ending to the album.
While Mikal kHill's voice and flow are a bit unusual and could take some getting used to, his delivery is solid and his lyrics are dark but witty and humorous. The lyrics are more about life and the daily struggle rather than the usual nerdcore narrative of video games and comic books. The Snuggle Is Real serves as a great introduction to kHill and also to nerdcore as a whole, since he enlists the talents of many of the best in the scene, including MC Frontalot, Schaffer the Darklord, Mega Ran and various members of the Backburner crew. The subject matter and production are dark, but overall, The Snuggle Is Real is a fun album. (NOFRIENDS Music/[insufferable] records)