By Christian Peeney
I’ve been following NxG for a while. We attended the same college, so I started listening to his music around 2018-2019. Back then, he had released his EP, Note To Self, which has since been removed from streaming services. It was more of a melodic album, something akin to Frank Ocean or Daniel Caesar. Personally, I loved this NxG sound.
As time went on, NxG further developed his sound, with his hit single “Eyy Yeah!” and his EP Genesis, moving away from the RnB influences and into more rap. However, with release after release, I had seen some of his haters call him a clone. They compared him to Trippie Redd, Playboi Carti, and Lil Uzi Vert, calling him a ripoff of those artists. This album, Equilibrium, seems to be a direct response to those haters. As he said on Twitter shortly after the release: “I found balance. I found equilibrium”. This is the most NxG sounding project I have heard from him, and I’m happy to see he’s settled in on his unique sound. This project is, as the title suggests, an equilibrium between all of NxG’s influences and his own unique sound.
Songs like “FELL IN LUV $$” and “Bleachers” use a Carti-type dark and synth-heavy beat, but NxG comes in with his own high-energy vocal delivery. Other songs like “Yeah Yeah” and “524” lean a little more into the slower, melodic sound of the Note To Self era, while still leaving room for NxG to spit some insightful bars. Regardless of the sound, he comes in on a track with an energy and passion that shows you he’s truly having fun making this music.
One of my favorite songs, and favorite stories, from this album is “524 (Stacking Game Song)”. Now, this may seem like an odd title for a song. A snippet of this song had been teased on NxG’s TikTok account for MONTHS before this album dropped. Every time he’d use this sound, he would also use the “Stacking Game” filter, in which the player blinks to stack blocks into a tower. Most of these videos challenged his viewers to beat his score. His audience did just that and used his snippet every time. Looking under this sound, you’ll find over 800 videos of random TikTok users (including myself) playing the Stacking Game. It was an odd, but (in my opinion) very smart, marketing strategy to get people excited for the song. So, now that it’s released, it only makes sense to call it the “Stacking Game Song”.
Equilibrium is more than just a stepping stone in NxG’s career. It’s more of a pedestal, on which he can stand and proclaim to the world what kind of artist he is. It’s a high point, coming after performing with Lil Skies and writing a song for the Philadelphia Eagles. Much of the lyrical content of this project consists of NxG reflecting on his journey, from bedroom artist to someone who’s “Next Up”. He’s done a lot to get where he is, and he deserves to brag a little. With tight production, great hooks, and an overall exciting atmosphere, Equilibrium is a truly remarkable project, not just for what it sounds like, but for what it represents. NxG should be on your watchlist: it’s only uphill from here.
Stream Equilibrium out on all streaming services.