Listen: Amir Obè - On a Ride (Prod. NYLZ)
OVO ghost Amir Obè emerges from the shadows…
By Declan WS
Amir Obè, who until recently, was perhaps best known for an accreditation on the If You’re Reading This It’s Too Late sleeve, has stepped out from behind the curtains. The Detroit rapper, and, writing contributor to Drake’s Star67, uploaded a few new tracks to his soundcloud on Monday: Just Know (which was premiered on the OVO Beats 1 Show), On A Ride and Say No More; with production credits for all three tracks going to Detroit-based producer NYLZ.
NYLZ’s soundscapes are in sync with recent OVO productions; think rolling hats, crunchy drum chops, atmospheric synths and murky and hesitant vocal samples. On A Ride is the best example of the three, with Obè’s flow the perfect accompaniment to the production style. The track is centered on an anxious refrain of “no time” (a clear reference to Drake’s No Tellin’) and the influence of both OVO on Obè and, perhaps, Obè on OVO is clear. Obè’s narrative discusses how he earned his stripes within OVO (“young rich Ni**a with power and respect/she gonna get it poppin’ for the owl on the chest”) and is steeped in OVO tradition; he struggles to find the balance between past and present, success and grounding. Obè’s voice; which sits at a mid-point between Drake’s pronounced auto-tune, and PND’s murky, warbling pseudo-dancehall flutter, helps further the dichotomy.
In comparison, on If you’re Reading this It’s Too Late, Drake uses similarly misty production to hide behind veiled verses and mystery – never really meaning what he says, never really saying what he means. Whilst there is a certain profundity and beauty to this, Obè’s candour (“I ain’t gonna no time/I ain’t got no time") is rare and distinct. Furthermore, in the OVO world – where what is reel and what is real is so very blurry – it is incredibly refreshing.