When I loaded up Elliott Niezel’s Strange Lands project, I didn’t know what to expect. I knew that the California-born-and-based artist was cosigned by the homie Julie and that he’s been active for a minute. That was it, but Julie has never given me junk. Intrigued by her intro, I checked him out.
As with Y3music’s track last month, I was amazed by its bluntness and approach. Niezel’s delivery is like some wild mix between Biggie, jazz rap and a slower West Coaster. It’s menacing, which adds to the trauma discussed in the project. From drug abuse to mental health concerns to feeling trapped by the desire to just survive, there’s no topic left unspoken. Lyrically, Niezel’s strong suit is his storytelling ability. Each track gives listeners a look into his past–and where he needs to go. He never becomes one of those preachy rappers with his introspection. Instead, he gives us his story and says “I don’t give a damn if you like it or if you are comfortable with it.”
I love the abrasiveness and the truthful nature Niezel gives here. It kept me bobbing my head but also hanging onto each lyric, wanting to see where he’d go next. And wherever Niezel went, he didn’t disappoint. It’s something that made me want to check out the rest of his discography and see where he’s been to get an idea of what I can expect the next go around. Check out Strange Lands above and remember to support dope music in all its forms. You never know what someone’s story is until you give them a listen.