Nafets came to Earth on an asteroid. Or at least that’s what it felt like, growing up the son of Trinidadian parents in a black suburb in Fort Washington, Maryland while attending a mostly white private school in Washington DC. “I felt like I was always torn between several worlds and cultures and it would often make me feel very excluded and alone,” he explains. “I felt I didn’t fit in with friends or society in neither Trinidad nor America.” That experience of feeling alien – like he’d crash-landed on a meteorite, clawed his way out of a crater and tried to assimilate into a world he didn’t belong – is the spark for his latest slice of energetic, slightly trippy hip-hop: ‘Asteroid’, a track that like its planet-wrecking, dinosaur-obliterating interplanetary namesake, is set to make a serious impact.
“For me, rapping began as a way to combat depression, which I’ve suffered from since high school,” says Nafets, who is currently at college in Claremont, California. “It was a way for me to explore that side of myself that wasn’t really appropriate to just casually talk about. It helped me separate myself from my depression by creating a little box to put it all into – music.”
That sense of outpouring emotion is certainly felt on ‘Asteroid’, his first release on 10K. Spit-firing surreal rhymes (“I’m digging graves for me and all of my friends ‘cos I’m trapped in the future, someone help me out, need a gallon of luther, stares all around but really I was gone for applause”) over looping keys and a deep boom-bap beat, it’s a lighter, more melancholy side to the rising talent, whose last single ‘Feel Good’ was a dark, rampant, lose-your-shit party-starter, praised by HipHopDX and others.
Influenced by Earl Sweatshirt, Chester Watson, Mac Miller and more (but with a sweet spot for metal like Lamb of God), Nafets has more on the way – ‘Asteroid’ is to feature on an album, The Death Of Mr Ramen, about killing off an alter-ego. This, then, is just the beginning. Follow Nafets on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter and we’ll see you next week.