Monday 24 May 2021

Album Review and Q&A: Celebratin' Hip Hop... Over Here by The Nicewun JM


Celebratin’ Hip Hop… Over Here


The Nicewun JM


It’s always good to hook up with artists local to your area and check out their music and have a chin wag if they’re close enough. One of those local artists dropped me a line on Instagram recently to ask if I’d consider reviewing his recent album drop… How could I say no to that…?

The Nicewun JM (JM are his initials) is a Hip Hop and Skateboard lover out of Trowbridge, Wiltshire UK, so my neck of the woods, and he is part of the TS Crew (Trowbridge Skate Crew). When I saw the title of the album was Celebratin’ Hip Hop… Over Here, it grabbed my attention straight way. You often get a single track that pays homage to the culture but, to have a whole album is nice to see and I wanted to know more but, more on that later as I have a quick little QnA for you all to enjoy once the review is over.

This album is 16 tracks deep with a wicked selection of features and production credits to boot. So, I think it’s best we get into it…


From the get-go this one undoubtedly Hip-Hop with some heavy production and slick cuts from JabbaThaKut, Now & Forever gives us an introduction into who The NIcewun JM is and what he’s all about. We get a good feel for his clean-cut rap style with that instantly recognisable South West accent. A pounding beat over some big horns of Domingo’s production heralds the arrival of Ain’t Playin’ No More where we find The Nicewun JM going in on the suckers and fake emcees, bigging up some UK legends and displaying the kind of vocal talent you need to be emcee in the game. The cuts here come from DJ Marlondon. Marvin A Doup brings a huge anthem style sound to Hear Me Rhyme, which sees our man bringing a slightly harder edge to his style alongside the similies, name drops and cuts from JabbaThaKut. There are some people that don’t understand and might wanna call 999 when they here Hip-Hop but, the key thing here that you do wanna understand, is that you can here every word, every rhyme and that makes for some good Hip-Hop.

Don’t Wanna Battle brings a pounding beat, horns and a jazzy piano as The Nicewun JM pays respect to those emcees who are battle rappers but, explains that this is not what he’s about. No beef here just writing those dope rhymes and rocking the crowd to the break a dawn. The head nod beat, and brass notes of Mac Lloyds production is a great backdrop to The Mind that has The Nicewun JM looking at ADHD and its associated issues such as hyperfocus, something I can fully understand having been diagnosed ADD. It good to see the awareness brought to this in a way that is entertaining and from someone who truly knows and understands. Marvin A Doup is back on production for Real Recognise Real bringing a funky beat mixed with guitar and horns. This track is all about the things he loves and what is real to him from his introduction and love of Hip-Hop to his belief in god and much more besides. This track really reflects the core values of Hip-Hop What you see, what you love, what makes you feel good and being one.

Can’t Keep Me Down brings in some boom bap production and cuts from Da Beatminerz, which really makes you wanna move to this as The Nicewun JM drops a solid track that looks at the times we don’t always get it right and those who will always seek to knock us back but, here he ably brings light and encouragement to others. This is another thing that Hip-Hop does so well in promoting positive messages and uplifting vibes. Maintaining that uplifting vibe but, on a more laid-back beat, synth and vocal sample of Marvin A Doup’s production. This one is all about that special person in his life and how they got to meet, if she had a favorite rapper or even a Favorite Colour. It’s all rounded off with some chiiled cuts from JabbaThaKut.

Next up is the first of two tracks containing featured artists. Underground Livin’ sees The Nicewun joined by Thirstin Howl the 3rd & MDV with cuts from DJ Marlondon and production by Marvin A Doup which is heaviest beat you heard in a hot minute. This one is all about the underground Hip-Hop music scene where it be rough, rugged, and raw ya hear. If you’re gonna be Hip-Hop then you gotta have dope beat that will be head nod and maybe have some horns, like you get here from Marvin A Doup, you gotta have the dope cuts, you got those here from JabbaThaKut, and you need to be able to drop those bars with knowledge and poise, and you get that displayed with aplomb here from The Nicewun keeping it Strictly Hip-Hop. Knowledge and knowing your Hip-Hop history is so important and we round off the track with a little of that. Hip-Hop has always been about freedom and unity and on this short track The Nicewun looks at the harsh times we live in and what it would be to live in a Perfect World. The laid-back beat and jazzy horns comes from Mac Lloyd on production with cuts supplied by JabbaThaKut.

For Close To The Edge The Nicewun is joined by Blaq Poet and MDV over another heavy pounding beat and guitar sample (both of which are classic samples and instantly recognisable) from Marvin A Doup with cuts by DJ Marlondon which slice through your awareness like a rusty razor. Here we have three emcees displaying their lyrical prowess in an unapologetic raw style that displays the harder gritty element that Hip-Hop has. Rounding the track off is short skit from Screwball radio. Head nod beat with a guitar loop is the platform for this short track where we find The Nicewun looking deeply into what you could Wish for in day-to-day life. Some of us wish and others look to a higher power for guidance and here The Nicewun shows us that a wish is not where his faith is as every day, he looks to the power of prayer. his faith in the power of prayer and Jesus is reflected here in Pray Everyday, a personal celebration of what his faith is to him and what it brings to life. This reflected to me that regardless of your belief or faith, you should celebrate it. The upbeat piano vibe comes from Domingo on production with JabbaThaKut providing the cuts.

We head into the penultimate track now a more soulful boom bap vibe from Domingo. The Nicewun speaks on what gives him the Passion for Hip-Hop music, it’s that simple. The album ends on an upbeat high with a jazz funk element from MDV’s production. The Nicewun drops an Alphabet Attack, dropping similes and metaphors galore because, at the end of the day, this is kinda wordplay that shows the versatility and quality of a true emcee…

If you truly listen to this album, then there is no way that you can deny that the musical roots of this are unashamedly in Hip-Hop and that boom bap Hip-Hop at that and that is where this begins to be a celebration of Hip-Hop. Not only that but, The Nicewun JM displays a good knowledge of the history of the culture along the way. It is also clear from the plethora of name drops that his influences are fairly widespread and the celebration continues as you can literally hear the love for the culture running through every track in music and in the words.

Now there will be a number of people that will not like this solely because he raps in his South West accent. But that in it’s self is to be commended as her not modelling himself on anyone else, he is simply being himself and there are far too many people out there trying to be someone else these days. If you set aside his voice for a moment, there is nothing about The Nicewun JM that puts him below any other rap artist. He has the verbal skills and changes of pace can easily lend him to stand shoulder to shoulder with anyone and the more he puts out, the more he’s gonna hone that skill.

The production values are all on point here whether it be the big names such as Domingo, Da Beatminerz and JabbaThaKut to those I am less familiar with like Marvin A Doup, Mac Lloyd and MDV it really helps this album flow nicely from start to finish with that boom bap style Hip-Hop that you can’t help but, nod your head to. The few featured vocal artists here in Thirstin’ Howl 3rd, Blaq Poet and MDV are all on point and conduct themselves exactly as you would expect and The Nicewun JM shows that is capable of stepping up and holding his own alongside them.

Overall Celebratin’ Hip Hop… Over Here is an above standard Hip-Hop album that ticks all the right boxes and continues the trend that the South West of the UK is one of the countries premier Hip-Hop hubs and one that is cementing a bridge across the pond and far further afield. Not just that but, The Nicewun JM also displays the talent that shows Hip-Hop is not just alive and well but that also the mic is in good hands and I’m sure we will see a lot more to come from this guy.

I suggest grabbing a copy, streaming it or whatever and making up your own mind.

Celebratin’ Hip Hop… Over Here is available now…

But, before you go grab it, had a few questions for The Nicewun JM:

First up The Nicewun JM, I just wanna send you my thanks for sending the CD to me and for taking the time to answer a few questions for me. I wanted to give everyone, especially those who might not be familiar with you, a bit more depth on you and the album…

1.     A few of the tracks on the album hint at how you got into Hip Hop. Any chance you could go into a bit more detail.

Yo! Steve, thanks for the review, I was really hyped on it. Yeah, for sure, I remember very clearly the day I discovered Hip Hop. The year was 1999, I was 11 years old, and I was with my twin brother. My mum and dad had just got Sky TV maybe a month before. We decided to put on the music channels and the song and video which caught our attention and began the obsession was Still D.R.E - Dr.Dre featuring Snoop Dogg.

Just everything about it... I knew it was the most amazing thing I’d heard in my life and I wanted to hear more. 

Not long after this we went on a day trip to Cardiff with our Mum and Dad, and we asked if they’d buy us a Snoop Dogg CD. We ended up getting Tha Doggfather (Snoop’s second album). We were so hyped, but a funny story about that day, being clueless 11-year-olds, at some point on the trip either one of us or both of us had stood in Dog Shit (dunno how we didn’t smell it). On the drive back home we’re both looking at the CD and getting the cover out of the case to look at it. With it being a long journey, we eventually fell to sleep. When we wake up there’s some Dog Shit smeared on the cover, and we still have that exact CD and you can see some faded dog shit on the cover, but the album was DOPE and definitely not dog shit... ‘You Thought’ is my favourite from that album for sure.

From there I just wanted to discover Hip Hop from everywhere, and I’ve collected Hip Hop CDs ever since. ‘99 was a good year to get into Hip Hop. We’d record the music videos & Hip Hop related programming such as The Lyricist Lounge Show onto VHS and then cut pictures out of The Source & Hip Hop Connection to stick on the VHS covers. Also used to stay at our Nan’s on a Saturday Night where we’d record Tim Westwood’s show onto Cassette Tapes as well. Also watching documentaries early on like Rhyme & Reason really helped me gain knowledge and understanding too. Someone recently said to me I have a database of knowledge. I’d never thought about it like that before but thought that was a cool description.

 What about the TSCrew, could you tell us a bit more about you guys and how you all came together.

Yeah so TSCrew was around before me even. I started Skateboarding in the year 2000 with my twin and friends I grew up with. Eventually we started Skating down our local Asda Car Park, and the older Skaters we looked up to were known as the TSCrew, and we wanted to be a part of it, so basically we’ve just always continued that legacy in our own community and making Skate Videos reppin’ TSCrew.

3.     I get the feeling this album means a lot to you. Why did you decide to make this album and how did you decide on the title?

            It really does mean a lot to me. I worked hard on it for many years, and definitely was a                                                 perfectionist as I was anxious about the response it may get. Fortunately for me I’ve had an                                          overwhelming positive response which I’m truly grateful for!!!

               I came up with the album title from a few different influences:-

       I’ve always been into celebrating things I’m passionate about, so for example with Hip Hop I    

       celebrate those we have lost who contributed to the culture, Hip Hop album release dates

       and giving props to those that have paid dues.

       I was listening to Drink Champs where I heard Noreaga say a few times we must celebrate

       our legends.

       I went with ‘... Over Here’ because I’m celebrating over here in Trowbridge and here in the


       But, also over here because a real emcee will ask the crowd “is the real Hip Hop over here?”

       So, it was my own subtle way of letting people know that I’m Celebratin’ Hip Hop... Over



4.      Could I ask a bit about your influences? There area lot of name drops on the album, I guess these are all influential to you but, could you tell us a bit more.

Yeah for sure, I’m influenced by Hip Hop and music from all over the world... Hip Hop takes the ingredients of other genres and makes something new out of it, which I’ve always been fascinated with. I listen to everything which makes it hard for me to narrow down, but I can tell you my favourite album of all time is Moment Of Truth - Gang Starr.


5.    You have some great producers for the album could you tell us a bit about how you came to work with them?

Yeah, sure so I’ll start with my people from Trowbridge. Marvin A Doup is one of my Day One homies, who I’ve known before primary school even. He’s an amazing Musician and Skateboarder. He recently changed his Producer Name to Afralune, so any future music will be using his new name. I met DJ Marlondon around 2005/2006ish who is from London, but has family down here and we’ve always been tight... He didn’t produce any tracks but did the cuts on 3 of them. I met MDV in 2009 and he’s another good homie... He makes Heavy Metal as well as Hip Hop. Outside of Trowbridge there’s the homie Mac Lloyd from Chippenham, who initially we met around 2012/13ish as he was doing a Skateboard Clothing Company called Iron Cloud and was Sponsoring my twin... Mac Lloyd is also a really talented musician and singer, and he’s signed to Res One’s Green Brick Records. Jabba Tha Kut from Poole... Incredible DJ and producer who I got in contact with via social media networking.... Then we have our international producers from New York who again I got in contact with via networking... To me it was important to work with people I’m a big fan of.

I’ve been in contact with Domingo for many years and his Media Famous service has helped with the albums promotion. The last piece of the puzzle was working with DJ Evil Dee & Mr. Walt aka Da Beatminerz, and we were able to make that happen, and the track I did with them is my personal favourite.


6.     Following on from that, why did you decide on the featured artists for vocals cuts etc?

Again, this was an opportunity to work with 2 New York heavyweights that I was already a fan of, so I reached out to Blaq Poet & Thirstin Howl The 3rd. I also featured my homie MDV on both featured track as he gave me a lot of support when I met him many years ago and I thought he’d be a good fit on the tracks.

7.     Being from the South West, do you feel that the area is really becoming one of the countries Hip-Hop hotspots?

Yeah so, I think everywhere has something unique to offer, but the South West definitely has a really dope scene. Leaf Dog and BVA are definitely 2 emcees who I’ve always admired lyrically.


8.      Lastly, what’s next from you? Do you have anything in the pipeline?

So, at the moment I’m just enjoying the response to this album and letting that live on at the moment.

I fractured my foot Skating 9 1/2 weeks ago so I’m currently healing up.

I am considering possibly doing another album one day... I recently got a beat from Micall Parknsun, so I plan on making a track over that at some point in the near future.


I hope that gives you all a bit more of a look into just who is The Nicewun JM and, just one more time, I want to give huge thanks to him for answering these few questions and for sending me the signed album. I look forward to hearing more from him in the future as I think it's gonna be a bright on for him.

There is just one thing left for me to say...

Peace, I'm Out...



Get your copy of the album via Bandcamp Here:

For all the Streaming and Social links to The Nicewun JM Check Here:


Can't Keep Me Down

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