It runs in the family
Sink into Nate Curry’s ‘Self Distraction’
Nate Curry was born into hip-hop in more ways than one. First, 1993 is considered a golden year for the genre. Wu-Tang Clan’s debut album 36 Chambers, A Tribe Called Quest’s Midnight Marauders and Souls of Mischief’s 93 ’Til Infinity were among some of the most groundbreaking releases, introducing sounds and styles so separate from each other that it’s hard to imagine they came from the same era.
Curry was also born into a lineage; his father, Nate “Sbvce” Curry, is a local rap legend and member of the Sacramento underground hip-hop group The CUF. Surrounded by the music, the artists and talk of the industry his whole life, moving forward with hip-hop seemed like a natural choice to Curry.
“Everything I do is hip-hop,” he said. “Everything we hear around us right now is hip-hop. The songs on the country station with trap drums? That’s hip-hop. Honestly, I consider hip-hop my religion.”
It’s easy to think that Curry, whose 2018 single “Cold Shoulder” has garnered more than 150,000 views on YouTube, is simply following the path his father forged for him. But his new six-song EP, Self Distraction, is a musical allusion to the uncomfortable journey of learning yourself by unlearning what you thought you understood.
Songs such as “Primero” immediately yank you out of your seat. The Soca-inspired soliloquy of love, produced by Sbvce, is an involuntary head-bobber, a light vibe encompassing Curry’s promise to put his relationship first.
“Temporary Fix” combines a synth-pop beat with lyrics that confront the realities of self medication, anxiety and the need to have healthy conversations.
“Everything in this world overwhelms me,” Curry rhymes. “Shorty always telling me to get healthy / All I think about is how to get wealthy / Even though I know that shit won’t help me.”
Subtlety is the EP’s strength. The lyrics are carefully wrapped in a coating of dulcet tones that hook you into the music, while the stories told through the lyrics slowly sink in.
The self-proclaimed hip-hop purist had a different initial vision for what his music would sound like. At first, Curry was influenced by the sounds of his father, who rose during the boom-bap era (an onomatopoeia that represents the kick- and bass-drum at the base of the beat). At the same time, his partner Maryann Baegod Hunter helped him evolve his music.
“In the beginning of my career, I was so close-minded, and I didn’t push myself or explore my talents,” Curry said. “Baegod and Sbvce are the ones who put me through a couple solid years of constantly making these different-ass songs from damn near all genres, because they knew what I was capable of. I wouldn’t be the artist I am without that boot camp.”
If an Aug. 10 Guild Theater show that Curry headlined is any indication, there’s already a heavy cache of fans excited about the new record. The theater, packed with energy from floor to balcony, was a success, Curry said.
Dig a little deeper into the music, and what you discover is a legacy passing down in real-time. Sbvce used hip-hop to teach Curry how to be an adult. He taught him how to adapt, evolve and grow organically by pushing through things that feel uncomfortable.
“Watching him grow into his career is way more fulfilling than when I was in his place,” Sbvce said. “I was so close-minded back then. I was a hip-hop purist and I hated everything else. Nate is creating with everything and everyone in mind. Nate is thinking big, and digging deeper into himself.”