Frank Nitt

Stadium Music

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As one-half of Frank-N-Dank, rapper/producer Frank Nitt earned his cred just by being in the room with J. Dilla, but his freaky, punchline rhymes aren't universally appreciated, so don't expect your neighborhood backpackers to be lining up for this conceptual album which, in further alienating convolution, was made to accompany his 48-page mini-memoir about a life in hip-hop. While Nitt's love of the cutting quip should have given him some Pimp C-style love years ago, overly skeptical fans, major-label woes, and a frustrating amount of name changes -- Frank Nitt, Frank Nitty, just Nitty, etc. -- put him on the "meh" list for most, and yet "So Large," true to its title, busts the album open with "Let me put you up on all the greatness I have done" before offering plenty of fresh examples. "Spotlite" is the first sure one as it flashes its steez and reimagines Kanye's "Flashing Lights" as a Detroit underground cut, and while "What Am I Supposed to Do and the Hop" is marked "Interlude," it's a wonderfully crooked epic, recalling a time where Parliament-Funkadelic were the biggest party in town while simultaneously bringing reminders of Kraftwerk in their mid-period (like "Trans Europe Express," this robot seems steam-powered). "Kick Rocks" is all heritage with Dank and Dilla's brother, Illa J, even if the topic is merely crummy girlfriends and other humanoid annoyances, but as the album comes to a close, the music industry becomes paramount as Dank returns for "Glimpse of a Champion" while "Radio" demands its namesake take notice, because Nitt's going to "bang your head till your ass get the picture." The book itself is much more linear, obvious, and moving, so the album alone does seem a bit insider without the backstory. Still, it's a giant step forward for Nitt the all-around artist, offering a wide variety of prime tracks from his Dilla-influenced mixing desk, and with more love put into the lyrics than ever before, it's his grand arrival doubling as a funky, fascinating, and really funny biography.

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