Amid scattered featured appearances made between the 2017 and 2020 release dates of Green Twins and Will This Make Me Good, Nick Hakim also recorded a split collaborative single with his associates in Onyx Collective. He was the headliner on the A-side, "Vincent Tyler," an uneasy if driving ballad about discovering a slain body. The song reappears on the second album from the singer/songwriter and multi-instrumentalist in a very different shape, stretched out with a backmasking effect as a percussive accent to a muffled bass drum thud, augmented by a new vocal that's almost vaporous. The reconfiguration is a slightly exaggerated way of exemplifying how Will This Make Me Good feels more surreal, fraught, and turbulent than Green Twins. In the title song, Hakim's agitation simmers through the first few minutes and boils over when he insists with a howl, "But don't give in to a master plan/Burn it down, lock that shit up in flames." "Drum Thing," far more complex and ornamented than the title implies, finds Hakim in a crazed state, delivering a screaming, stream-of-consciousness rant that escalates from boastful to combative to lustful, and signs off with "What's the use?" As in "Vincent Tyler," real-life loss informs "Qadir," a slowly rolling dedication to a late friend. It's a plea to maintain soul-to-soul connections as much as an elegy, with Pink Siifu and We Are King's Paris Strother among many voices in a swirling, acid mix that recalls early Funkadelic. Respite from death and other forms of anguished imagery -- aimless lost souls, dwindling hope, sleeplessness -- is rare. There's no way out, but Hakim provides consolation that is flavorful and tripped-out. Moreover, it's a little reassuring that he's able to flash some of his pitch-black, bone-dry sense of humor. The first two lines of "Crumpy" in particular should not be missed.
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