Experimental group NUZU have entered the scene with a unique and astral approach to rap.
Rappers Kayes Mensah, Teige and producer/videographer Killion joined to form NUZU in early 2019, with a focus on creating immersive music that is self-contained, and an emphasis on keeping as many aspects of their process in house as possible. They’ve just debuted with their track ‘Hazy’, a night-time missive to loves missed and the hectic nature of life.
Directed and edited by Jack Wyer (aka Killion), the visuals for 'Hazy' take us through face melting distortions against the backdrop of carparks, neon offies and pointedly dystopian magazine posters. Listing cyberpunk gems like Akira and Blade Runner as their main influences, it is clear where NUZU ground their aesthetic. There’s one moment in the video when the camera pans to copies of WIRED magazine promising readers ‘how to build an award winning start up’ that feels deliciously strange and techno-dystopian. This particularly strikes because of how it coincides the production’s descending warped scales, reminiscent of Kenji Kawai’s Ghost In The Shell soundtrack. The cinematic execution of this lead video feels like a panel of a comic, with such promise of an extended sequence of similar releases to come from the group.
Teige and Kayes Mensah work well against with/against another, almost like opposites. Teige raps calmly, ‘picked from the north side of the cityscapes / she just wants to escape’ before the camera cuts to candyfloss smoke billowing out from his shoulders. His delivery and narrative captures the way that we hesitate as we try to sum up how a person perceives us and if they are really who they say they are, ‘hands in her pockets and tricks up her sleeve’.
Kayes Mensah has a flow that sucks you in just as Killion’s production starts to linger on a wobbling guitar line, opening with ‘I don’t really rave’ before growing faster by the bar into images that flash from red light districts to bustling shows. The energy of his performance feels like a 90s driving game, turning sharp corners with ease. One of the last moments of his asks you to ‘take a leaf out of my abstract’, and this sums up a lot of what NUZU have set up in their debut: they’re comfortable to sit in the smoke tinted mystery of abstraction. It’s this level of confidence that plants the group on the scene with at least eighty feet firmly on the floor.