I've long been fascinated by death. I don't think there is any way to make that sound any less disturbing than it is, but much like NERD's latest album I've always believed that people never really die, they only transform. The transforming sound and style of Domineko over the last four years coincides with such a theory.
Last week Neko delivered his latest album 'Perfect Weekend' and my news feeds were filled with the images of an orange tire. The cover depicts him carrying this obscure orange car tire, running down a path that leads into what looks like a wall. When I asked him what the tire meant, he said it represented 'something new' - as if he was on a path to nowhere, but found something to change his direction and maybe alter his destination.
If you listened to any other Neko album before this, you might think a lot of his music comes from a place of pain or anger. From his earliest work on Wood Floors, to our album PPL WATCHING, to his collaborations with Rick Maun, Mike C and more - Neko's music has been loaded with emotion and honesty throughout the last 4 years. It's amazingly relatable to many people who could be sharing similar thoughts. The same can be said for Perfect Weekend, but the tone and feel of the music was different than usual. Where albums prior feel more aggressive as if Neko is lashing out, Perfect Weekend feels as if it represents acceptance, and change.
More than a rapper, Neko fully embraces his multitude of talents on this album. Adding the intricate and detailed production of Kevin Delany and expertise of audio engineer MAB, Perfect Weekend all comes together in sync and makes for one of 2018's best listens. This process is best displayed on the stand out track Mannequin, which enlists the musical range of Topeka based group YOUNG MVCHETES. I'd be inclined to say that this is the least hip-hop based album Neko has delivered, as he expands on his other musical influences like folk, rock, and even techno.
In an interview with Shuttlecock Magazine a few days ago, Neko discussed how the idea for this album came to him in a dream, which could be interpreted as a nightmare after he states he dies the day following his album release. Listening to this project and the difference between it's sound and his prior work, the death in his dream can be viewed as change shown in real life. Where once were forceful, dog barking raps filled with aggression, Perfect Weekend showcases a newer more intricate style that displays wisdom and knowledge.
To put my earlier statements about death into context, and as a frequent collaborator and friend of Neko - Perfect Weekend for me signifies a transformation, and more so than a new Instagram username or a haircut. While I feel this is a climatic conclusion to a path long traveled, it may also just be the start for something new.
I encourage everyone to listen to Perfect Weekend, as it may be something you need to hear if you're stuck on a path to nowhere and looking for your orange tire.