Italy’s Nemi is not exactly a newcomer on the indie hip-hop scene in his home country, but he’s only just breaking ground as a singular talent with his brand of laid-back, Italian hip-hop. The first single off his new EP, 11, is tailor-made for coastal lounging. With all the elasticity and sweetness of a soft caramel chew, “Quello Che Mi Resta” is a European confection of warm, lush funk and steady, relaxed grooves, never stirring beyond the fuss of a gentle breeze.
The track dips a little closer to R&B than it does to hip-hop, though Nemi’s fluid, easygoing rhymes keep the number rooted in the traditions of rap, its minimalist electro-beat a nod to the golden age era of early ‘80s hip-hop. Thrown into the judicious mix of styles are some sly touches of pop-smart humour; strain hard enough and you may hear just the barest hints of Paolo Conte, Italy’s king of quirky barroom jazz-pop. “Certainly my musical influences aren’t limited to just rap, but all kinds of soul music or Italian music of the ‘70s and, in the later period, electronic music too,” he says. Thematically, the song explores the usual affairs and personal grievances of angst-ridden youth – the stuff most pop music is made of. “Quello Che Mi Resta” is about the duality that everyone, I think, has inside their soul,” Nemi explains. “Two characters that coexist in one person: A rational part and another irrational, seen from my point of view and dealing with my personal experiences.”
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