By Jackie Cular
NOTAR is not the average rapper; his new album, Devil’s Playground, is devoid of excessive auto-tune and insulting women, yet strong on powerful messages, lyrical gymnastics, and catchy beats. This rapper is unique, and certainly one worth listening to. The album is not a one-note rap album; it is full of pop, dance, and rock influences. Here is the Play By Play.
“Devil’s Playground”: The title track hits hard and sets off vibe of the entire album—be prepared to hear great beats merged with powerful lyrics.
“Matador”: “Bulls in the put, get ready to charge;” this song serves as NOTAR’s battle cry. Stand back; this song is even better live.
“Reach”: This song features the vocals of Chris Carrabba of Dashboard Confessional, and is where the album gives a nod to rock. This track is a stand out song because it is catchy and memorable.
“Stranger”: This song features the vocals of Adam Duritz from Counting Crows and includes intricate guitar work from David “Immy” Immergluck of the same band. The trio converge create a heart-felt rock magic.
“Alcoholic”: With driving guitars, this song celebrates the party lifestyle without blushing.
“Choose to Run”: This track includes hints of techno and guitar while describing the struggle of this young rapper.
“Perseverance”: This tune slows down the pace and features a blend of rock and opera—very successfully. NOTAR expertly chooses a myriad of rock bands in his lyrics to tell a story—No Doubt, Bloodhound Gang, Judas Priest—just to name a few.
“Superstar”: The tempo picks up again thanks to more Immergluck guitar-work and continues with a rally cry.
“High Til I Die”: Seth of Captain Kid provides vocals on this track with “middle fingers to the sky.”
“Seasons Change”: This is still a rap album but Ken Lewis and Sarah Howells guest on vocals and Pete Whitfield provides delicate violin work. The convergence of these talents creates gripping tale of a relationship come to an end.
“Whatever You Need”: Young Ca$h joins NOTAR to bring angst and powerful lyrics to remind listeners who rules the mic.
“You Went Away”: The album ends with a musical alliance—Adam Duritz vocals, NOTAR on trumpet (yes, he has played for many years), Curtis Watson on trumpet, Victor Vanacore on strings among the crew. This song summarizes NOTAR’s themes and reminds listeners that this is not just a rapper; this is an artist.
Look for Devil’s Playground, out soon on Tyrannosaurus Records—owned by Adam Duritz. Go to NOTAR’s website for more information and follow him on Twitter.