Indie (July 24, 2012)
Review by LaRosa
Like most things, hip-hop has gone through its cycles of what’s hot in the mainstream. There used to be a time when conscious hip-hop was at the forefront as it challenged its listeners to step up, think for themselves, and change the world. Those days appear to have gone the way of the dinosaur, as many listeners struggle to find any sense of depth in their music. NomiS is one of a rare breed of emcees who is trying to buck the trend of rapping about nonsense & is intent on expanding your intellect.
Taking the title for his latest release from an episode of the 80’s cartoon the Transformers, NomiS attempts to take the listener on a journey through the cosmos searching for the elusive & mystical figure known as Alpha Trion. Outside of a few snippets from the episode that help to tie the project together, the cartoon references end there; instead, this album is more about searching for the real Alpha Trion, God the Creator. With those as the overarching theme, NomiS offers up a healthy dose of socially conscious hip-hop for the listener.
While Searching for Alpha Trion is a complete album, if we are going to talk about a project from a conscious emcee, then it’s important to state that the greatness of this album begins & ends with the lyricism & depth of content that are delivered. When you look at the track list and see a total of seventeen tracks, you expect there to be some filler or interludes strewn in, but that is not the case here. Any interludes that you find, all of which are from the Transformers episode, are tacked on to the end of a track, and not a track unto themselves. That being said, NomiS carries the theme of a cosmic journey throughout the entirety of his album and uses it to speak to both social issues & putting faith in Christ, whether it be in his song titles or in the metaphors he uses throughout his raps (try counting them all). “Shoot for the Moon” is a perfect example of a song where the socially conscious side of NomiS shines forth, where he uses the idea of setting higher goals for oneself as shooting for the moon, as opposed to thinking that you have to be famous in some form of entertainment (sports, music, etc.) to find worth & make it out of poverty situations. And since he is a Christian emcee, he’d be remiss to not point you to the cross, which he does perfectly in “Astronomy.” It’s hard to not single out every song, but just know that NomiS’ lyricism shines through and challenges you to step up your intellect, as a conscious emcee should.
With lyricism & content being the shining stars, it would be very easy to forget about the musical accompaniment over which NomiS delivers such rhymes. Listening to the instrumentation on this album, you can’t help but walk away saying that this is hip-hop how it was meant to be. There is plenty of West Coast flair that keeps NomiS true to his Oceanside home. There is also enough of a twist in the production for there to be an intergalactic feel while not using electronic or house style sounds to give you that feel. In that regard, it was definitely a job well done. It wasn’t a stretch to hear NomiS on any of these beats, and he knocked them all out of the park.
As a whole, Searching for Alpha Trion is a complete package from NomiS. You are given a complete theme that is not overdone, like getting a perfectly cooked cut of steak. The lyrics are thoughtful & heartfelt, while at the same time challenging to the listener. There were the perfect number of guest appearances to keep things moving without becoming distracting. Plus, the beats are something you can space out to, pun intended. By time you’re done journeying with NomiS, you’ll have no doubt been introduced to Alpha Trion and be ready to take another cosmic journey with this everyday hero.