Nikki Njoku presents a truly innovative approach to hip-hop with the soulful “Nouvel Ordre Mondial”. From the found sampled sounds, skits, and other elements that help to give the album a sense of history to her own soothing vocals, there’s a great thoughtfulness that ties it together. The album shows a keen adherence to narrative in a post-modern sense – both in terms of exploring geography as well as on a personal note, of one’s own specific journey. Lyrics are chosen with equal care, for she pivots from the framework of hip-hop to incorporate pop, R&B, even elements of lounge and yacht rock into the proceedings.
This eclectic, heady brew has a great playfulness to it while being rather poised in how it executes those infectious hooks. At least in this sense, her work could be seen to draw from the elegance of Janelle Monáe’s work on the ArchAndroid. Beyond this, the carefully crafted atmospheres that unfurl offer a nod to Brainfeeder Records’ thoughtful, geometric output. With a great amount of personal vulnerability brought into the fray, she features bits of the autobiographical snippets of Drake, the Weeknd, and Tyler, the Creator for good measure.
“Le Vol” starts things up with almost a Brian Eno/field recording kick. From there the “We had a real (skit)” has a darkness to it, courtesy of George Bush (senior)”. “Expos Montreal” works as a unique showcase for her voice, nicely balanced on top of the highly creative beats. With “Oceania (feat. Shelly Nova)” the bass hits in a physical, emotional way for goes deep into the red. By far the highlight comes from the sheer wildness of “Soul Goons (feat. Bindi Barz)”. A disorienting shuffle evolves, as the keyboard vamps give it a melting lounge music quality to it. “Yachtsmens skit” further embellishes upon the storyline of the album.
Echoing and bouncing off the walls comes the swirling “Rotator (feat. bizza)”. On “Solos (feat. bizza)” embraces a celebratory togetherness to it, with the light theme maintaining a certain mystery to it. The oddity of corporate jargon meets rap merges together on the kaleidoscopic “Oill Buccaneers (feat. bizza, Pierre St.Cavalier)”. Stripping things down to the essentials is the intimacy of “The Bridge (feat. Pearl Morris)”. The narrative continues on the faux broadcast of “Mayheim at Molson”. Another highlight emerges on the glistening glide of “fleur de lis” where her voice wafts on through with a sense of true yearning. Neatly bringing it all to a close is the surrealist title track “Nouvel Ordre Mondial (feat. bizza)”.
A wild and colorful journey through a life lived to the fullest, Nikki Njoku tells her story both literally and metaphorically on the powerfully intoxicating sounds of “Nouvel Ordre Mondial”.