Nicolay & Kay Time:Line

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Netherlands-born, North Carolina-based producer Nicolay met Houston MC Kay (of The Foundation) the way everybody meets these days: over the internet (specifically, the boards). Nicolay’s musical vision is a warm, wistful one, and his pillowy melodies cocoon Kay’s smooth, reflective style, creating an effect that’s stirring at times, mesmerizing at others. “As the Wheel Turns,” easily the tightest cut on the album, displays Nicolay’s ability to conjure a vibrant spell from simple, rich loops, echoing Kay’s observations of what it means to navigate life’s daily struggles. Check “I’ve Seen Rivers,” a Langston Hughes-referencing joint about the staying power of civilizations that feels like it could only come from a much more experienced rapper.