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Aly Nabeeh: Midnight Nostalgia

The second release from the young rapper and producer this year shows the artist's passion and growing talent, despite a few oddly-placed tracks. Listen to the new album here...

Wasting no time in following up his first mixtape entitled Waiting For Forever, rapper/producer Aly Nabeeh returns with a new album entitled Midnight Nostalgia.

The 19-year old Aly Nabeeh is on a mission to be heard. This new album marks his second release this year, showing his passion of straddling the fine line between R&B and Hip Hop. The Cairo based artist not only produces his beats, but raps and sings over top of his compositions. From the onset the album starts with a 22-second intro that sounds like someone is preparing an old fashioned, cassette mixtape.

The album was dropped three days ago on SoundCloud and truly begins with the track Alive, which is a well mixed down tempo Hip Hop track reminiscent of Jay Electronica. Nabeeh spits bars and delivers effortlessly a unique stream of consciousness facing a teenager who raps in English in a mainly Arab speaking country. Singing the chorus, Nabeeh expresses thoughts of feeling alive and enjoying cigarettes, perhaps a contradiction, but one many Egyptians can relate too. This track is followed by a solid Hip Hop track that doubles vocals, presenting rhymes in his usual tone on top of a deep auto-tuned vocal track seemingly inspired by the likes of the Tyler the Creator.

Sadly, Nabeeh attempts to extend his talents from rapping to singing falls flat. Tracks like Scared of the Beautiful and Wise Man emerge right in the middle of the album and sounds like it doesn’t belong. We understand that artists like to avoid being framed in any one genre, however, on Midnight Nostalgia, Nabeeh's attempts to sing ballads takes away from his strengths; rapping and beat making.

The album has instrumental book ends and a few tracks that seem like fillers, giving the sense of an old school mixtape being created. At the end of the day, those who love Hip Hop may enjoy tracks like FU, Alive, and Hive, but will likely feel disappointed with the ballads. If Nabeeh had simply removed the filler, ballad, and instrumental bookends, he would have found himself with a solid EP rivalling anyone rapping in English in Egypt. However, presented as is, the album leaves much to be desired despite the inclusion of a few gems.

At the age of 19, mistakes should be expected from this young artist, however no one can deny Nabeeh's passion or potential in developing a Hip Hop following. That being said, Midnight Nostalgia does contain tracks worth hearing, but would have been a lot stronger with careful edit in track selection.