Watch Rap Fold in on Itself in N.O.V.A. Knuckleheads' "Origami" Video
Meet N.O.V.A. Knuckleheads, the borough-spanning New York rap crew doubling down on weird, singular sounds.
N.O.V.A. Knuckleheads (that stands for Numb Off Various Addictions) are a borough-spanning rap collective out of New York. Members Cakeman, Tyson, Codaq, and Durrty Harry represent Brooklyn's Flatbush neighborhood, the Bronx, and Queens. But they also represent the city's ideal as a creative melting pot, the kind of place where ideas from around the world come to settle and then be made cooler by the fact that New York is cool and kids who live in New York are cool, and art grows on what few trees there are to be found.
Thus, I present "Origami," the beguiling, Auto-Tune-warped single that the group recently released. It's not totally foreign—this kind of twisting, syrupy sound is definitely in the same realm as internet-savvy, minimalist Atlanta acts like Key!—but it's also just weird enough to feel new. Rap has always been a genre where innovation was brought about by constraints, and rappers have long devoted themselves to finding new ways to discuss familiar topics like drugs and money. But there's a cool trend emerging right now in which artists are focusing in on these lyrical themes with almost monomaniacal precision, taking a clever metaphor and wrapping it around itself until it verges on nonsense and becomes a celebration of weird sounds more so than a literal song about drugs or money or whatever (see: "Look at Wrist" for the best example of this).
Anyway, "Origami," as you might be able to guess, is about folding paper. It is awesome. Its video is a heavily filtered look at the group acting dumb in a Chinese restaurant—once again, a fun doubling down on a simple idea to the point of glorious near-incoherence. It's fucking cool. Check it out below:
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