Rappers in the “Lone Star State” have long been known for their appeasement of candy-painted rides, chopped and screwed vibes and an overall emphasis of southern hospitality. Breaking this ceremonious mold, Houston-based quartet The Niceguys (Easy Yves Saint, DJ Candlestick, Christolph and Free) have made a name for themselves by providing universally-crafty records attuned to the younger Hip Hop fans online. Contrasting their humorous video series with a steady appetite for the studio, it would make sense for the group’s debut album to be fairly light and entertaining, yet professional in approach. That’s exactly what ensues on The Show.

As the mouth piece of The Niceguys, Easy Yves Saint personifies their theme of “performance and energy with a dash of awesomeness” nicely. Whether he’s administering a verbal hex on haters with “Contraverses” or getting his celebratory fix on “Toast,” Saint’s radiant delivery carries an assertive tone that is comparable to veteran emcees. Unfortunately, what turns out to be Yves Saint’s biggest flaw is his ostentatious lyricism that seemingly has no implicit value. Take “The Good Shepherd” in which he raps, “Must I remind you, getting behind dude / Like being blind with a good seeing eye to guide you / I’m a dog, four legs but stand on my hind two / Don’t bark, rather I spark my ‘K’ and my nine too.” Sure, the word play looks good on paper, but the constant metaphors interferes with the message he is trying to get across. Then on “It’s Like That,” Saint bewilders the listener with a clumsy homophone barrage; “Brakes loose, no brakes, we break rules / And we don’t use the brakes, I break her off until the break of dawn.” Examples like this hinder an otherwise respectable performance from the Queens-to-Houston rapper.

While Christolph and Free “share” production duties for The Niceguys, Christolph’s volume of work on the album is a sign of whose beats worked best for The Show. Characteristically soulful and upbeat, the aforementioned “Toast” is an instant head-bobbing record layered with synth keys, drums and horns galore. In stark contrast, the aggressively Rock-induced “Mr. Perfect” shows the range of Christolph’s creations. However, it’s his work on “Things Ain’t The Same” and “On This Road” that provide the album superb audible context. On the former track, Christolph matches Easy Yves Saint’s disappointed lyrics over the loss of a girlfriend with a dejected guitar riff melody that brings out the emotion of record. On the latter, it’s his addition of an alluring flute that thrusts the journey-filled narrative forward. To be fair, Free’s contributions are not too shabby either as production for the album-ending “Curtains” properly fits the vibe of the record.

With musical peaks and valleys, The Show is an admirable debut for a group that has yet to tap into their full potential. Still, the question at hand is whether they can become a staple figure in a genre that sees too many new artists come and go. Whatever the case, The Niceguys have become an interesting group to watch in the near future.