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Nicolay & Kay: TIME:LINE

By Kimberly Turnerreviews
Feb 27, 2008 - 7:06 PM

Some things are just meant to go together: peanut butter and chocolate, ice cream and cookie dough, barbecue sauce and poffertjes (small Dutch pancakes). Actually that last option sounds a little gross. Okay so maybe the blending of Dutch and Texan cuisine doesn’t sound appetizing, but when it comes to hip-hop the pairing couldn’t be more delicious. Acclaimed Dutch producer Nicolay and Houston rapper Kay go together like peas and carrots on their release TIME:LINE, a hip-hop epic guaranteed to satiate your sonically famished ossicles.

Listen to the TIME:LINE sampler:

TIME:LINE (as the title suggests) chronicles the life of Kay from pre-gestation to birth to death and the afterlife with all the setbacks, triumphs and shenanigans along the way. The album has a cinematic quality and strong narrative with each track acting as a frame or film still of Kay’s life. The journey begins with “The Blizzard” as our self-described “charismatic and spiritual” main character walks the listener through the turbulent circumstances surrounding his birth. He reminisces about watching Fat Albert and recognizing the power in his pen. “The Lights” warns about the trappings of fame, drugs, the seedy side of the music biz and losing yourself in the hype. We’re there for every crush, hangover, and letdown until Kay gets nabbed by the cops on “Grand Theft Auto.”

All good films are incomplete without a killer soundtrack and Nicolay (who is also half of Foreign Exchange with Little Brother’s Phonte) definitely delivers. His production on TIME:LINE is meticulous. Each song transitions effortlessly into the next, keeping the pace of the storyline. Known for his distinctive style and use of live instruments this musical prodigy plays most of the instruments on this album. Nicolay’s smooth and at times somber melodies change to reflect the several musical eras and decades encompassed in Kay’s narrative.

Although Kay hails from the South, TIME:LINE is less crunk and more funk. However, that doesn’t make it any less remarkable. Hip-hop’s odd couple has completed a rather ambitious task: taking the story of a person’s life and condensing it into 12 dope tracks.


Kimberly Turner is a 23-year-old graduate of San Francisco State University. When she’s not writing, she enjoys traveling, going to concerts and digging through the used CD bins at Rasputin Music. If she wasn't a journalist she'd be a pastry chef.

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