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“Where I Dream To Be, Briefly” by The Nocturnals
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WHY IT’S ON THE ALBUM: I’ve known the two members of The Nocturnals — MC Rota and producer Lucca — since childhood. Which is why I was so excited to have material from them that matched the work of these other 11 wonderful acts. When Rota and Lucca teamed up officially after years of friendship, the latter, (previously known as The Letter N) was already carving a name for himself with his production for E-Train. It was the newcomer Rota who broke onto the scene with The Nocturnals’ LP Next Time It’s Personal. And nowhere is his nerd-hop bravado more bold and awkward than on “Where I Dream To Be, Briefly,” a celebration of everything we would love to say to the most beautiful girl in the bar, if only we had the balls.
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While the actual rapping is hit and miss (or, perhaps, miss and hit and miss), the lyrics are sharp, painful, funny, observant, and occasionally twisted. Rota’s voice resembles El-P at times, though that is the end of the similarities. This is dweeb rap, and I mean that complimentary. If Rivers Cuomo was an MC, I suspect his lyrics would sound something like this. What Rota most definitely has a natural knack for is establishing a different kind of hip-hop persona, a voice that seems to live outside of the hip-hop sphere. Rota “keeps it real” all right: on “Diamonds,” he raps about needing money “so I can pay rent/ And not go back to grazing from my parents’ basement.” And “Where I Dream” paints one of the most embarrassingly humorous “guy who can’t talk to females” songs I can think of:
“Can I buy you a drink please?,” he fires off. “Will that lessen your resistance/ I know that you’re a Christian/ But please loosen your mittens/ I just want to pet some kittens/ Before this night hits intermission.” And later: “Please sleep with me/ I swear, you don’t have to give back/ Just take off your knick-knacks/ I’ll pop in a tic-tac/ You tip back/ I’ll lick lap/ With lips chapped…” Yikes. Those are details you don’t find in every song.
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