14 Songs, 48 Minutes

EDITORS’ NOTES

Tears of a Clown opens with one of Andre Nickatina’s most essential songs. “Rap Gods” is a portrait of the artist’s fate in rap. Having heeded the call of the rap gods, Nickatina spits like a man anointed. In an industry in which copycats are rewarded with money and fame, one must be driven by deeper forces to adhere to a vision as singularly gnarly as that of Tears of a Clown. Every song chooses a path diametrically opposed to the standard rap song. The beats pursue a kind of schizophrenic funk, and the beats writhe and stutter in unwieldy celebration. Even as the beats do everything possible to buck the listener, Nickatina remains the consummate rapper’s rapper. Simply put, he rhymes his ass off, tearing into these tracks with unselfconscious gusto. For all his oddball tactics, Nickatina approaches his music with a fervor rarely seen in rap stars. He aptly describes his modus operandi in “My Rap World”: “Try to bite what I write and it'll break ya jaw / Andre Nickatina right here in the raw.”

EDITORS’ NOTES

Tears of a Clown opens with one of Andre Nickatina’s most essential songs. “Rap Gods” is a portrait of the artist’s fate in rap. Having heeded the call of the rap gods, Nickatina spits like a man anointed. In an industry in which copycats are rewarded with money and fame, one must be driven by deeper forces to adhere to a vision as singularly gnarly as that of Tears of a Clown. Every song chooses a path diametrically opposed to the standard rap song. The beats pursue a kind of schizophrenic funk, and the beats writhe and stutter in unwieldy celebration. Even as the beats do everything possible to buck the listener, Nickatina remains the consummate rapper’s rapper. Simply put, he rhymes his ass off, tearing into these tracks with unselfconscious gusto. For all his oddball tactics, Nickatina approaches his music with a fervor rarely seen in rap stars. He aptly describes his modus operandi in “My Rap World”: “Try to bite what I write and it'll break ya jaw / Andre Nickatina right here in the raw.”

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About Andre Nickatina

With a penchant for old-school rhymes and lo-fi beats, Andre Nickatina hails from the West Coast. He released Cocaine Raps and Raven in My Eyes simultaneously on the Dogday imprint, but it was the trilogy of 1999's Tears of a Clown and 2000's These R the Tales and Daiquiri Factory Cocaine Raps that put Nickatina on the West Coast circuit. After these releases emerged during what was highly regarded as his golden period, Nickatina followed up in 2003 with the highly ambitious CD/movie project Conversation With a Devil. ~ Rob Theakston

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