I Know NIGO! – Nigo ★★★½

2022I Know Nigo!Nigo★★★½72Hip-Hop

I Know Nigo! Is a quick, fun, hip-hop compilation record curated by Japanese fashion designer and BAPE founder Nigo. A DJ with Japanese hip-hop group Teriyaki Boy, the second album under his name — and first since way back in 2000 — is much more about the collaborators than Nigo himself (I’m not sure what he actually does here except be a friend). Pharrell, Tyler The Creator, Pusha T, A$AP Rocky each make multiple appearances and create a well-rounded 32 minute project.

Pharrell is really the star of the show here, producing or co-producing seven of the eleven tracks. He’s also the glue that connects a lot of the elements together — his relationships with Tyler The Creator and Clipse, as well as Kanye West, who produces a track as well, makes up about 70 percent of the record.

Every song on this album — other than maybe “More Tonight” — is good, but the clear best track is “Come On, Let’s Go.” From Tyler’s classic heavy synths and embellishments, and The Neptunes-styled drums, to the straightforward, simple, but funny and relatable lyrics about impatiently waiting for someone to get ready to leave the house, the song is pure fun.

The pounding crashes on “Paper Plates” and Pharrell’s falsetto go really well together with FERG’s deeper voice, making it another intoxicatingly interesting and fun track. Pusha T and A$AP Rocky also feel natural on their tracks, and deliver expectedly solid and fitting verses.

Even though Pharrell has a hand in most of the songs, as a compilation record, it naturally sounds and feels a little disjointed.

Opening the album with an old freestyle from 2019 by Tyler and A$AP is an odd choice that slightly dates the album right away. The more dancy Kid Cudi track, and the two drill songs tacked on near the end of the record feel a little out of place, kind of like Nigo was trying to on a modern trend or felt obligated to have a club track on the album. The songs themselves are actually fine, but it takes away some of that cohesiveness I like in a record.

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