Che Noir & Big Ghost Ltd: Noir or Never: Review

Big Ghost Ltd, an internet blogger and music producer, has had a solid two-week run. First, he delivered solid production for his collab tape with NY rapper Rome Streetz; the following week, he came with another fantastic collaboration, this time with Che Noir. Another raw lyricist making waves from Buffalo, New York, Noir consistently demonstrated the depth of her writing underneath this luscious 90s Hip-Hop flow. It may be niche, comparatively – because of production style – considering the landscape of Hip-Hop through a popular music lens, yet, Noir reminds us that she’s a force to be reckoned with constant output that rarely falters. Noir Or Never continues that outcome with rich lyricism from Noir and her features, along with some good production from Big Ghost Ltd. Noir’s lyrical fortitude matches wits with the best of them. Unfortunately, Noir or Never feels more like a Big Ghost Ltd than a collab album with this abundance of features, and with a short run time doesn’t allow it to leave a stamp following the visceral intro, but it still packs a punch with what they deliver.

Noir Or Never opens with an intimate interview where Che Noir speaks on her influence while bolstering her confidence to remain true to their style (lyricism first) instead of selling out with more popular sonic aesthetics. Within this audio, we hear a slight toward popular hip-hop music that retreads similar themes through surface layer lyricism, never relaying depth beyond what said tracks aim to stylistically deliver. Think songs with the simplicity of “Pop Champagne” by Ron Brownz and how that gets more attention instead of raw lyricism that spreads layers of truths instead of booty bounce hip-hop with little to say. Listen, I’m a sucker for it, and I vibe with the occasional pop-Hip-Hop style music flooding airwaves. Noir and Big Ghost Ltd set this push for bringing light to lyricist dominant Hip-Hop, and though there is, it chooses to bring features to let listeners hear a variety of these artists, but it would have landed better if Noir went at it solo.

Though it misses on having a more significant impact than what we get, it isn’t entirely undermined as the features deliver great verses over modern boom-bap that brings an element of whimsy over the percussion patterns guiding the rhythmic flows. It chooses a different path, and within that path, Noir matches wits with great and established rappers like Ransom, 38 Spesh, Flee Lord, and Skyzoo, to name a few. They come delivering their A-Game and keeping you enthralled by the quality. From the vinyl-scratching bliss of “Brilliance” with Skyzoo & D-Styles to the bass-heavy “Veracruz” with 7xvethegenius, there is a consistent outpouring of greatness. It’s disappointing that they come on a simple throwaway album, especially after her intriguing turn in the self-produced The Last Remnants. They are significant enough that it’s worth a listen, especially with the consistency of some of these established rappers, like Ransom and Skyzoo, the latter of which I praised on his concept album The Mind of A Saint earlier this year.

We do get two solo tracks, which stand out above the rest. “Resilient” and “Low Altitude” beautifully encompass Noir’s resilience to keep growing. The former reflects how it’s been a hustle since a young age, listening to HOV and Foxy Brown, becoming a foundational human striving, and the latter on her push to deliver. She’s rapping about critics who deem her style less appealing in lyrical quality and changing the narrative. The content of the music shifts from introspective reflections to lavish flexes that keep the reminder of her technical potency at bay for listeners. Big Ghost Ltd, having been around the music industry, usually doesn’t falter in establishing beats that don’t over-sizzle despite using some more simple percussion, comparatively, as he masks it beneath these overtures that shine. We get this bleak, twinkly aesthetic with doom-like piano keys contrasting the high pitches from said piano and a bass groove on “Cap Locks,” for example. To distinguish that song’s usage of drums, Big Ghost Ltd shines with the lavishly drum-heavy “Bad Apple,” which incorporates intricate layers of snares, kicks, and hi-hats, with some horns for good measure.

There are a lot of fantastic elements boasting Noir or Never, and it becomes a slight disappointment with some of its decisions. It chooses to take a different direction, and though it’s effective, capping off at 23 minutes makes it run by quickly, not allowing you to digest the music adequately. It moves by swiftly, making you want more but for what you receive there is enough quality to replay, even if you prefer the features to the solo work.

Rating: 7 out of 10.

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