Hip-hop forum dwellers have long heralded Nino Bless as a special talent. His R.O.A.M. series is vaunted as underground gold too pure for the masses. His newest release Illuminati Reject is a lyric heavy salvo that doesn’t stop until the last song rings out. While Nino has a strong grasp of what it takes to make a song, don’t make the mistake of going into Illuminati Reject thinking it is going to be a fun time. Nino’s imagery is dark and graphic, while teetering on the edge of introspection and sadism, and that’s a good thing.

Tracks like “Echoes of War” have barrages of rapid-fire revelation and the tongue in cheek “This Song Might Get Me Killed” is a bit preachy, but full of clever word weaving that requires multiple listens. Lines like “Jabs like this / From one that ain’t popping / They don’t shock ’em / But hurts / Like button mashing with Blanka when someone’s blocking,” take a certain level of nerdism to fully appreciate, but there are complex Easter eggs hidden throughout the similes.

Nino has another impressive showing of bars, but the aging sound of his production and lack of entertainment value may make Illuminati’s Reject a one and done.

Conventional structure pretty much goes out the window and by the time “Bamboozled” rolls around you may be a bit exhausted. Nino’s high-pitched voice and vocal wavering contributes to the effect and the depressive content and horror movie beats get stale quick, which is all forgivable in light of the concepts on the album. Nino does have some fun on “Ozzy’s Jam”, but the feeling is short lived and late to the party. His song names are either marketing genius or laziness at its finest. Tracks like “That Wu Sample” and “Circle, Circle, Thot, Thot” are frankly, stupid.

Nino has another impressive showing of bars, but the aging sound of his production and lack of entertainment value may make Illuminati’s Reject a one and done.

Words By. Sean Watson