Review: Nelson.J – ‘FashionNova’



An aspiring rapper, Nelson.J was born and raised in the Caribbean island of Dominica before moving to Houston, Texas where he full-developed his sound. Blending tropical vibes with modern hip-hop beats, he’s a fresh face on the rap scene, billing himself as “your favourite unknown artist”.


Released back in May of this year, ‘FashionNova’ is the first glimpse at what Nelson.J has to offer as an artist, showcasing his talents in clear, sun-kissed form. Opening with a stream of light keyboard notes, ‘FashionNova’ quickly transforms itself into a slow-burning club anthem, bringing to light a polished production and auto-tune clad vocals that deliver their own evolving melody.


Soaked in reverb and with a simple, but effective refrain, ‘FashionNova’ has that hip-hop by numbers vibe that makes it instantly feel familiar, tearing down the barriers between singer and audience in one quick flash of afrobeat magic. Lyrically, ‘FashionNova’ sticks to the shallows, offering simple rhymes and predictable lines that ebb and flow throughout the song in a complex dance of overlapping harmonies. Nelson.J’s vocals are clear and rally with and emotive quality that survives the heavy production, making the repetitious hooks shine against the driving back beat.


Glistening with an undeniable afrobeat influence, ‘FashionNova’ is a seamless blend of different styles and cultures, taking his Caribbean roots and proudly infusing them into a more Western shade of hip-hop. It’s a contrast that works to Nelson.J’s favour, with the steel drum-like sounds flickering high above deeper base tones, and the semi-chanted refrains creating a complex medley of sounds that wash through the calling harmonies and verse.



A song that appears to live in the crossroads of two genres, Nelson.J revels in the freedom and versatility of the evolving afrobeat sound, taking his chosen elements of established genres and seamlessly blending them into his own creation. While the sound might be familiar, and the path already trodden by artists like Big Sean, Wizkid, Mr Eazi, you have to respect Nelson.J’s efforts to put a spin on things. A strong and entertaining debut, ‘FashionNova’ is a strong indication of what’s to come.


Available now on Apple Music, iTunes, Spotify, Tidal, and Amazon Music, ‘FashionNova’ is an essential debut single. To keep up with new releases from Nelson.J as they arrive, be sure to follow him on Instagram and Soundcloud below.


Score: 7.5/10


Connect with Nelson.J,

40 views