NJ based singer-songwriter, producer, and rapper Eric Skye embraces a surrealist series of atmospheres on the fiery flows of his debut album “Nice Guys Finish First”. Throughout the mix, Eric Skye’s nimble lyricism and delivery draws from a wide variety of artists: from the hard-edged odes of Kendrick Lamar to the blurred beats of early Boards of Canada’s yellowed nostalgia. A playfulness runs across the album, one that at times looks back at hip-hop’s origins while simultaneously pointing towards its future. With this sort of duality Eric Skye defies easy categorization and listener expectations. Flexible right down to its core the grooves are made elastic, the melodies soaked in chilled-out neon hues.
Spaciousness comes to define these tracks. Letting things unfurl up into the sky the whole of the album has a dreamy journey behind it. His storytelling, one that touches upon yearning, desire, relationships, and tenderness, feels outright real. Arrangements go for a gorgeous series of swells, at times recalling Neon Indian’s “VEGA INTL. Night School”. The swirling layers allow for a great deal of room to roam, for Eric Skye’s lyricism helps to serve as the true heart and soul of the entire journey. The beats have a crisp, polished perfection, and the bass rumbles with just the right kick behind it.
“Ididntcheat” sets the tone for what follows: an economical yet infectious groove and a slightly askew sort of poetry. The jazzy effects of “Gone”, featuring Curv4evr, have a spry lively presence to it. Gorgeous melody rests in the very center of the anxiety on “Doyoucare?”. By far, the highlight of the entire album comes from the wild unhinged spirit of “+Slatt+”; truly free, the loose yet powerful beats add to the song’s intensity.
Woozy keys introduce the echoing yearning of “Forbee”. A sense of the dramatic permeates the sprawling “Overdose”. Bubbly melodies waft up to the surface on the comforting “Rainbow”. Effortlessly bringing the whole album to an incredible finale is “Deja-Vu!”, featuring Curv4evr and EH VAE, where a bit of the psychedelic flows through.
“Nice Guys Finish First” proves Eric Skye to be a true master of his craft, with words that linger in the mind long after the album has ended.