After debuting lead single “Severed” and its accompanying music video last week, LA underground rapper Nocando has released his latest album of the same name. Focused around the emotional riptide of a dissolved relationship between himself and his long-time lover and partner in child-rearing, the former battle rap champ describes Severed as his most personal and vulnerable project to date. Released on his personal Hellfyre Club imprint, Severed tries to reconcile Nocando the unbeatable battle monster with James McCall, the down-to-earth dude from LA who just wants to recover from a love hangover.
Nocando spitting “I wish I could forgive and forget / You split my lip with a fist, you slit my wrist with a kiss,” on the opening stanza of “Salty” shows that he’s more than willing to not just open up, but to get all the messy details out on the table, along with the emotional cards that rappers have been noted for holding so close to their vests. He admits to being salty, vindictive, and sorry on the hook, but his pen remains as sharp as when he was eviscerating opponents with his freestyles. The production is melancholy, built around a lonely piano loop and an echoing, not-quite-Gothic vocal synth sample. The bridge picks up at the end, becoming the engine for his raps to become an unhinged, runaway-train rant, perfectly evoking the tempestuous emotional states of a man who’s been cut loose at set adrift from the emotional anchor of his longstanding relationship with a high school sweetheart.