North Philadelphia, PA-based hiphop artist Nazeer Art’aud caught our ears with his soul-infused hip hop style embedded in real-life experiences underpinned by rich vivid lyricism, humour, wit and his endearing persona. His new album The Last Black Man in Philadelphia, is a 10-track body of work inspired by a host of influences ranging from soulful samples reminiscent of early Kanye and the title is a homage to the 2019 film by Jimmie Fails called The Last Black Man in San Francisco.


The project begins with the upbeat  “The Ghost Of Kanye’s Past” and it’s a hopeful and summer-tinged production. Nazeer jumps right into it and gives audiences a recap of his childhood till the present time. Armed with his energetic flow and passionate gruff delivery, he carefully details certain aspects of his life and how they shaped him into who he is with lines like  I’m just making art nigga, Pablo-Picassin/ Just fighting inner demons, nigga shadow boxing/Teenage nigga turtle, I was raised by hood rats/Nah nigga I ain’t hood but I got a few tats and I held a gun twice, Grandpa drove a Cadillac/Nigga had a gansgta lean with a diamond in the back”. This is followed by “Saltburn” which is introduced by a solemn horn riff that slowly rises to a bass-heavy trap drum groove and sees the rapper employing a laidback and choppy flow and boastful raps about having a stringent work ethic to escape falling underneath the poverty line. He doesn’t mince his words and one can tell he has no time to horse around with ambitionless individuals who might try to detract him from his goals. “Big Dogs Eat First” is a reflective tune ripe with soulful samples, warm vocal chops with soft drum grooves underpinned by detailed lyricism from Nazeer and guest rapper Killa Showfa. Showfa leads in the first verse with lines like See I want it straight up/I don’t wanna break it if it’s made up/Me and Nazeer rolling to the great cut/ They ain’t know we faced us/When the Big Dogs eat, we just faced up/ Get a 20 Mill plate and take up” followed by Nazeer who adds his 2 cents into the mix.


Next up is the retro R&B infused and playful track “Fat Boys Need Love” and the song sure doesn’t betray the title. The beat is boisterous, vibrant and made for the clubs while Nazeer’s genuine lyrics about love for women and his weight take center stage. Once again, Nazeer doesn’t sugarcoat his thoughts and talks candidly with a touch of irreverent and humorous lines like “Fuck you to the Gap band, feel the bass line/Big nigga, Bigger waistline/Big nigga,  and I eat her every time/Big room full of bad bitches like Kreyshawn” and closes it up with an anthemic chorus. This is followed by another playful and bouncy “Lana Del Rey” that sees Nazeer teaming up with Gurskyman and they share that one thing they like in common. They know how they like their women and one just gotta respect it for what it is but on another note, the emcees employ unique and off-kilter cadences which adds depth to their performances. With a title like “Fuck Kevin Costner”, I wasn’t quite sure of what to expect but once that soulful bop come into play and Nazeer starts with “Butt naked in your mum’s picture like I’m Ving Rhames/She likes her eggs over easy/Give her peachy, a little squeezy then I’m off to the races”, I was convinced. The unfiltered and stream-of-consciousness approach by Nazeer is quite engaging. From boasting about smashing to the pain of the loss of a loved one to feelings of hopelessness, Nazeer runs through a gamut of emotions over the solemn vocal sample-driven track. This is followed by the Gospel-tinged “I Found God in My Colt 45” which flips a classic sample and here, Nazeer embodies the spirit of a sinner trying to find his way back to the light. From his naive childhood to coming to terms with how life truly works, Nazeer shows us how losing one’s religion and being caught in a fork in the road can either make or break you. The title track“The Last Black Man in Philadelphia” sees Nazeer teaming with Evander, and together the emcees speak on their never-ending struggles as young black men in a White man’s world.


The project closes out  with the introspective “Front Row, Section 8” and the solemn “Black Boys Cry in the Dark”. The former has a soul-jazz vibe with downtempo drums underpinned by Nazeer’s heartfelt lyrics and autobiographical account of his childhood while the latter focuses on the modern-day societal pressures young black boys face. From being alienated, and forced to ply the route society has set for him, Nazeer explores many deep-rooted traumas that black men often ignore or suppress. This is a brilliant way to close the project as it adds another layer to Nazeer’s artistry as a songwriter.


Overall, The Last Black Man in Philadelphia, serves as an audio movie that gives audiences a glimpse into Nazeer’s life. We get to see his playful and reflective sides with a whole lot of nuances that touch on relatable topics.


The album artwork was designed by Alex Smith.

All the photos were taken by VanBem Photography.

Keep up with Nazeer Art’aud | Spotify: Facebook: Instagram

Previous post

1Kasss - 'The 1 Is Silent' [Album Review]

Next post

Liv Averie - 'Ethereal EP' [Album Review]