The Epitome is not just a sound, it’s a world
Rapper Glenn Robinson-better known as The Epitome – and I’ve been emailing for almost four years now, so even before I sit down for a longer conversation, I feel like I know them. The new version of Epitome NNTT is out now, and the album’s title track sums up what I consider Robinson’s musical approach to in one line: “Duality is my art. “
During NNTT‘s nine tracks, Robinson drops lines on Yu Gi Oh !, hentai, and Jean-Michel Basquiat, but also raps about smoking weed and fucking. As you can see, man contains multitudes. But it is often classified in a sub-genre of rap called nerdcore. The Epitome knows it relies on a tentpole marketing strategy, but sees itself as a celebrant of an extended and elaborate culture. Not just these benchmarks.
“I feel like I don’t really fit in with a lot of other people who rap on anime and I feel like we’re on a different spectrum,” Robinson says. “It’s like, ‘Alright, man, I rap anime too.’ It’s just in a different way.
savvy readers of Field you might remember that when we posted the video of the NNTT collaboration with Amira Wang, “Big Bawdy”, in May 2020, we mentioned that the album will be released in September. Spoiler: COVID-19 is the culprit for the 12-month delay.
“We had all of these videos,” says Robinson. “I might have had four more videos shot, but when the pandemic hit, I couldn’t finish them. I didn’t want to abandon the project and then release the videos – which we just finished probably last month – for another year.
The genesis of NNTT dates back to 2019. In the wake of 2018 Always Trill, it started with a few lines: “Nerdy [people] trap too / You will never catch us. From there, Robinson got beats from producer Raisi K., after explaining the concept of the album. “Big Bawdy” was the first song to have a life of its own.
“Amira and I just started playing ‘Big Bawdy’,” the rapper explains. “We were just doing shows and doing stuff and people were going really crazy. People were on DMs, calling and texting, “Hey, when’s that song coming out? We have heard it everywhere. When are you going to release it? ‘”
Robinson laughs and adds, “The first thing you never do is never put dates in your music.” Hearing someone on a track shout a year like 2007 instantly ages and takes away the immediacy of a message. “I have probably a hundred beats or more, and I have like seven that I’m working on. I don’t make music based on waves or what other people do. You have to think about the longevity of the thing you’re rapping about.
It designates the first line of NNTT. In “Outro because I don’t need an intro,” Robinson drops, “Gryffindor trap lord / And I never saw the sort / The only hat I knew was the way I saw my life. ‘after the recordings. ” It is an instantly familiar reference to several generations.
Oddly, however, the third track on NNTT is titled “NOTR”, which stands for “Not Old Town Road”, which could have been a very dated reference, but as NNTT fall on Lil Nas X’s heels Montero, it’s a song that seems premonitory — a song that looked to the future and didn’t know it.
Marketing is a priority for Robinson. The artwork, lyrics, and aesthetics must fit into its neon-lit world. This space is made up of video games and anime, frenzied rhythms and powerful voices. Robinson knows that music fans these days also want to see what’s going on in your life, so you can’t just post about your new music and be frustrated when they don’t engage more.
“You are a character now,” suggests the rapper. “They want to see your social networks. Like, ‘What are you doing? Where are you? How did you get there? What are you cooking What are you eating? What kind of drinks do you like? ‘ And this is crazy for me. I’m like ‘Wow, do you need all of this just to listen to my new record?’ “
To this end, not only will the Epitome fall NNTT this month, but there is already another project ready to go, titled Ted Talk Trap Scheduled for early 2022. There’s a line in “Smell Good” from that album that says, “My time is money / I don’t have any to waste.”
It seems Robinson saw this truth.
NNTT is out now. Listen to it here.