N.O.K.

Live From Streetside Vol. 2: The Prequel
(Mindspit Records)

Other than chedda, what separates the up-and-coming flowmaster from a baller whose SoundScan numbers rival the deficit? The answer depends on the gamespitta in question, but when it comes to PHX lyricist N.O.K. (None of a Kind), the difference between this talented MC and bigger playas in the game could balance on the end of an oily razor blade.

N.O.K.'s shit is tight on his recent release Live From Streetside, with production and beats ill enough for heavy rotation. It ain't hard to imagine tracks like "Get Cha Money" bubblin' to the lid, especially when the refrain "get the money-money, take the money-money" rings in your skully long after the CD is back in the crystal. "Burden of Proof," "NOKANIBAL, Pt. 1," and "Enta da Mind," wherein N.O.K. debates offin' himself, also shine like dimes.

Originally an East Coaster, N.O.K.'s been reppin' 602 since '94 and has opened for Snoop Dogg, Nas, and Wu-Tang alum Cappadonna, who appears on the track "Like That." But N.O.K.'s rhymes boast mad P-town flava, like in his "Infloduction," where N.O.K. awakens at a bus stop bakin' in the sun (apparently after a night of drinking) and declares that "Phoenix desert got a nigga's brain fryin', no lyin'." Belee-dat, heads, and cop that album, ya heard?

 
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