REVIEW/MIXTAPE: Phil Nash - Phil of the Future Pt. 2

. Aug 15, 2009

“Phil of the Future Vol. 2” is the name of the mixtape, but it's evident that Phil Nash is well aware of the legacy of classic hip hop from the early ’90s – perhaps not all too surprising given the fact that he’s DJ Jazzy Jeff’s protégé. Throughout the project, Nash provides countless bangers, true to hip hop form and impressively raw lyricism. Noticeable, as well, is the overall feel to the project, as he seamlessly transfers from song to song, all the while maintaining an incredible melodic balance of originality, precision, and vision.

His latest mixtape includes several cuts heavily influenced by the classic New York Tribe vibe. For example, “I Smell Smoke” (produced by Heartbeat the Producer) channels a soulful sample of Dionne Warwick’s “Walk on By” into a heart-wrenched testimony of struggle and inequality. “Heat Stop Working”, “Much More”, and “Gonna Want Me Back” offer a nostalgic feeling to the vintage days, a testament to the reason why NY became the Mecca of hip hop, as Detroit’s Nash flows with ease over the catchy jazzy trumpets. Equally impressive is his homage to the Queensbridge veteran Nas over the tracks “Nasty Nash” and “Nash is Like”, backed by the instantly-recognizable Premo beats. Lest we forget to recognize those who have paved the way, let’s point out the sampling of Big Daddy Kane’s “Ain’t No Half Steppin’” on Nash’s “Halfsteppin’”, a track full of sincere ambition and unbridled yet not-over-the-top egoism.

Aside from the lyrics, the production on this project is impeccable, full of classic yet classy sampling and smooth drum overlay. Easily, the most notable producer on the mixtape is the legendary DJ Jazzy Jeff who offers his services on two tracks. There are also several credible features with the VA MC Skillz, Sim City, and Phene, among others. However, don’t get it twisted: while the features are heavy and the production solid, Nash is not left in the shadows, as he commands every track with his presence and embeds each with his own unique style.

His goal is achieve mixtape of the year (and no doubt more!), and honestly the ambitious vision is not far-fetched. He is one who has much to offer and is getting only better. I have witnessed his steady progression ever since his first mixtape and several feature songs, most notably “Uptown Anthem” with Washington, DC artist “Marky” (Studio 43 / SRC / Universal Records) off the VH1 Honor Roll mixtape, which was how I first discovered him. In conclusion, with his dope flow and respect and knowledge of hip hop history, Phil Nash has a clear lane to make some heavy moves in the future. Perhaps that is why we know him as . . . Phil of the Future.