Every once and a while, an artist comes around that has an undeniable appeal that excites everyone (even the big dogs). Estee Nack is one of those artists — a name that’s been floating around in underground Hip Hop circles for years. His acclaim came to a head last year after Westside Gunn was put onto his catalog and immediately tapped the Dominican, Lynn Massachusetts native for a verse.
Alongside his Tragic Allies crew (Code Nine, Paranom and Purpose), Nack’s roots in the game run deep. In fact, they run parallel to his grasp of the English language.
“I grew up in a musical family,” he tells HipHopDX. “I got other family members that were in the pursuit of this type of lifestyle.”
The first instrument he played was the Dominican folk drums, he explains, adding that he began his foray into Hip Hop around the age of seven — more or less when he started mastering English.
“I was obsessed with the American culture, man,” he says. “[Hip Hop] was my way of connecting with that culture.”
While Nack fits snuggly into the pocket of the new wave of underground music, there is an impressive amount of evolution in his sound — something he says is deliberate.
“I don’t feel like I ever had just ‘a sound,'” he says. “I don’t even think I have the same sound that I had last year or the year before. I’ve been a million times evolved. I still haven’t reached my final form.”
His catalog is as deep as they come, making the discovery process for new fans a fruitful task. One individual to have become a big supporter was Griselda mastermind Westside Gunn, who boldly gave Nack what essentially amounted to a solo track on his much-hailed seventh and (perhaps) final entry in the Hitler Wear Hermés series.
The track, “Banana Yacht,” would ultimately introduce him to a legion of new listeners.
“West is just a good dude,” he says of the collaboration. “There was a tweet that said West was looking into my catalog and whatnot … a couple of weeks later, he contacted me.
“He said, ‘I need you on [Hitler 7].’ What the fuck I’m gonna say, no?” he adds with a laugh. “That was the only dialogue that I had with Gunn by the time that song came out … it was just straight work.”
Though he hasn’t released any other joints with WSG (yet), he’s done anything but coast since the high-profile look. 2019 was a little slower, but he’s already dropped three albums in 2020 — two of which were released this month: BALADAS with producer Superior and IWannaFxckJadaFire with producer Grubby Pawz.
Both projects have juxtaposing vibes, and for a good reason — their inceptions were quite different.
“I wasn’t too familiar with Superior’s work beforehand,” he notes of BALADAS. The German producer first caught some buzz last year, producing Eto’s Long Story Short LP.
“He was sending me fucking heat, yo,” he says. “We started buckling it down and getting the project done track by track.”
The LP took about a year to come together. “It was kind of like the old school style. We let that shit slow sizzle.”
In contrast, IWannaFxckJadaFire was a step outside of his routine, as he recorded in the studio with Grubby Pawz. A large portion of his projects are recorded, mixed and mastered by Mr. Rose at The Mini Mansion. When it comes to grasping the full scope of his talent, this is essential to note — namely because Mr. Rose and Estee Nack are the same person (at least in the physical form).
He explained this during an interview in 2017:
“A lot of people don’t know this, but Mr. Rose is my producer alias. Mr. Rose is an independent entity to Estee Nack. It’s a different manufacturer. It’s like Newports and Marlboro; same motherfuckers are producing both of them, but it’s a different product, it does different things for different people.”
The title and cover art of the project is an ode to award-winning pornographic actress Jada Fire, who retired from the industry back in 2012. “She’s the GOAT,” Nack says with a laugh when explaining the title. Beyond being a pretty straight forward nod to his intentions, he also reveals that the album is a throwback to a particular time in his life.
“In the 2000s, she was fucking running through the whole world … in the 2000s, I was running through the whole motherfuckin’ world, too,” he says. “I remember it like yesterday. The whole lifestyle, man. You know, niggas was young, dumb, full of cum and getting money.”
Though already released, IWannaFxckJadaFire is currently only available in physical format, which is an indie power move that’s also (albeit in a slightly different pay-to-listen format) been seen with acts like Ty Farris and Roc Marciano.
For fans in quarantine, the abundance of content from Nack is a welcomed distraction. He’s reluctant to divulge how much music he has on the go this year, he does note that he’s “working” — only making clear that he and Grubby Paws have a lot more music on the way.
There is a likelihood that COVID-19 quarantine will only increase his creative output. More broadly, he states that he believes it will be a productive time for all artists of his caliber, who are generally accustomed to creating more music than they can release.
“Music is the exhaust system for the mind. We take in life and we exhaust this music. Know what I’m saying? That’s why it comes so easily and so abundantly to some of us,” he says. We’re fucking living our lives, we get in the lab and we exhale.
“There’s a lot of guys dumping off,” he adds. “They’re not just saying dumping on one, two or three albums a year. No, they doing eight, nine, ten albums a year, and a couple of collabo projects.”
With a hefty discography in tow, 2020 is looking to be the year that he breaks out to a wider audience. Much like many others in his lane, the Griselda wave has opened a plethora of doors.
For anyone who got discouraged and bowed out during the precarious period that followed the mixtape and DVD era, he notes that it may be the time to give in to that nagging voice in the back of their mind.
“It’s a good time to jump [back] in the arena,” he says with a laugh. “For a lot of cats that was quiet for a lot of years, it’s a perfect time for them to slide back into the gym, man.”
With his career just really taking hold and a lot more eyes beginning to lock onto his buzz, Nack is focused on what’s next — the levels that he has yet even to fathom himself reaching. However, his intentions stay as humble as it gets.
“At the end of the day, I want to be able to do shit for my mom, my family and my community. I wanna inspire people, man,” he says. “Inspire people to be great and do magnificent things … that’s my ultimate goal.”
Estee Nack and Superior’s BALADAS is available in digital and limited edition physical release now. IWannaFxckJadaFire is available for purchase here.