Song: Nod Factor
Album: From Where??? (1996)
A few weeks back, when I first moved here to London, my friends Mark & Shelby-Jai took me out for dinner and drinks. It was a Saturday night and we ended up at The Alex P. Keaton or The APK as it's more commonly known.
Saturday night's at The APK are Old-School Hip Hop nights. I know, I've told you all this before. What I didn't tell you was that the first joint Mr. DJ dropped was one of my all-time hidden gem classics, Nod Factor by Skillz.
I'm the one dude in Canada who bought this album. Seriously - if you look up "CDs That Bombed" in the dictionary, there is a picture of this album cover. It sold like four copies, which was insane because this song is nuts and Skillz is great on the mic.
Long before Kanye was putting together some quick-witted rhymes and dropping lyrics that you never would have thought up, Skillz did the same thing with Nod Factor. Here's just a sampling of some of the brilliance:
I be blowin up spots like I was sendin out mailbombs
My track packs enery like nuclear reactors
I be Mad Skillz and this be the Nod Factor
I'll fuck your career like the cast on Diff'rent Strokes
no joke..I see airlines and start aimin rhymes
My shit will have hard niggas in Soul Train lines
bumpin wit this big black broad named Belinda
oh you rappers don't say jack
and walk quiet like a ninja
I perfect raps stick in under your skin
either your noddin by now
or your dead or a mannequin
After this single came out and the album tanked, Skillz fell off the face of the Earth, at least commercially.
He's an underground star, gaining acclaim for his yearly Rap Up tracks which he has been doing annually since 2002.
Skillz is also a ghostwriter - penning pieces for some of the biggest and best in the business. The only person who has ever admitted to having used Skillz for his skills is P. Diddy. In his song Ghostwriter, the names of all the artists mentioned is edited out, but others who have been tied to Skillz talents include Mase, Jermaine Dupri and Foxy Brown to name three.
After hearing it at The APK two months ago, this song has been in heavy rotation once again. It reminds me of what I always loved and still love about Hip Hop - smart, sharp lyrics with a tight beat.
Hip Hop needs more tracks like this and more Mad Skillz on the mic.