A title like The Boombox Diaries Vol. 1 EP conjures up a stale image of cliché norms encompassing the terms “boom-bap,” “real hip-hop,” or “conscious rap.” And many projects that fit this mold often do just that—fit the mold—with mixed results. But on the Brooklyn-based MC’s Distrolord debut The Boombox Diaries Vol. 1 EP, Nitty Scott breaches the mold and brings something refreshing to the table.
With contributions by !llmind, AraabMUZIK, Cassius Clay, Paul Boogie, Kendrick Lamar, and Action Bronson to name a few, The Boombox Diaries serves as a self-aware catharsis, and a chance for Nitty to reflect on her life and growth to date. She is a woman on a mission, but she’s not caught up to neglect beauty of the world and her own journey—a key theme of the album, exemplified on the K-Dot assisted, “Flower Child.”
Strong and diverse production style keeps the 12-track offering fresh from beginning to end and showcases the MC’s range. With a new twist on boom-bap, bangers like “H.O.T.” and “Planes, Trains, and Automobiles,” interweave club-friendly aesthetic. On “Dear Diary,” the Michigan-born MC raps: “I’m not a conscious rapper I’m just conscious of my subject matter.” But in comparison to the industry norm, she feels like a conscious rapper, which isn’t a flaw if “consciousness” can be expressed without the associated clichés—which she avoids capably.
At times, the album serves as an aggressive indictment against the industry and the commercially-minded rappers that occupy it, but Nitty clearly has fun in the process. Her poetry is direct, but potent. It’s accented by clever wordplay that allows her to keep up with the always-entertaining Action Bronson on the album’s standout, “Auntie Maria’s Crib (Remix)” (“French manicure, crushin’ up the sticky/Very trippy, type to get the secret out of Vickie”).
While there are a few minor missteps, overall, The Boombox Diaries is a strong addition to Nitty Scott’s growing catalogue that will continue to attract listeners. And chances are, she won’t give them any choice in the matter. —Nick De Molina (@odmod)