Album: River Nelson, The Rise And Fall Of River Nelson (Dusty Vinyl)

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It may be the Brooklyn rapper's debut release, but The Rise And Fall Of River Nelson sounds like an old-school hip-hop offering from the likes of Talib Kweli or Common, with his thoughtful sentiments and positive attitude set to infectious symphonic-soul beats by British producer Lewis Parker.

The opening gambit of "Always Winter" sets the scene for the entire album: "For hours we lean on cars that's not ours and talk bad about the world under a sky without stars", a vivid sketch of chilly street-corner life in Brooklyn.

Elsewhere, a memorable romantic interlude is captured in evocative lines like "she rose from my bed, shook the dreams from her hair"; he doesn't shirk the problems, but he's keen to present his 'hood as home to people who "got visions within 'em, bits of optimism".

DOWNLOAD THIS Always Winter; Hold On; Beautiful Life; Moonrise