Holy Déjà Vu! Nina Sky’s patience with their label Polo Grounds went out a 50-foot window last week when they used Twitter to air out their frustration over the mishandling of their sophomore album. Now here’s the double take: remember when the feud between the L.O.X vs. Diddy got ugly, spilling out onto Hot 97 with D-Block demanding to be let go from Bad Boy? Yeah, that one. Things are a little different though, since the advent of social networking. Natalie and Nicole posted the direct e-mail and phone number to label figurehead, Bryan Leech, which arguably one-upped Jadakiss’ tough talk about a refrigerator landing on Puffy. Ouch!
Hell has no fury like a woman scorned, indeed. But what’s the deal with Nina Sky’s real return to music? Time is money, like Styles P’s first album doggie. Come this June it’ll be a year since Diplo and Switch recruited Natalie and Nicole for a guest appearance on the Major Lazer album, added onto the six years between their debut album and the one at hand. The former FADER mag cover girls stay connected to music by doing big time DJ gigs. But their struggle to consistently make the party anthems we’ve come to associate them with, and songs that show their range has kept them in recording limbo. So using their close ties to some of the industry’s major players, we’ve devised seven alternative routes in case there’s no reconciling with their label.
Who sill solve Nina Sky’s dilemma? Diplo seems like the likely person to bring the girls to his Mad Decent crew having collaborated in the studio, and at their regular “Our House” party series in NYC. But maybe they’re just friends. Friends show up to their friends’ birthdays, and sometimes perform DJ sets like Diplo did last week at R Bar for both Natalie and Nicole’s born day celebration. Let’s not jump the gun though. It’s not like Diplo will pull a Suge and have his goons hang any Polo Grounds employees out hotel balcony windows anytime soon.
Having worked with Rick Ross on “Flippin’ That,” Nina Sky should know the worth of a good secret. On the record, they stood as ride or die chicks, holding down their man with whatever paraphenalia he trusted them with. Could it have been this whole time that Nina Sky was smuggling messages in their music too? “On Some Bullshit,” “Curtain Call” both seem like subliminal shots at their dire situation with their label.
At first, “Curtain Call” didn’t seem like a title of Nina Sky song we’d think twice about. Two years after J Records released it as a single in 2008, amidst their current label drama, the deeper meaning of bowing out gracefully could be taken a little more seriously. Hey, when you run the music through a microscope, you might not like what you find, like Rawse’s history as a correctional officer. Sounds like dirt that could have ethered his career, but it didn’t. Now that shit has hit the fan for Nina Sky venting about the situation in public could cause more problems than prevent. That said, fly under the radar, rather than petition.
It’s rare that super-producer The Alchemist features non-rappers on the chorouses for his songs. What’s he got to choose from? Between the sampling soul singers of yesteryear and Big Twin getting his Barry White on, Natalie and Nicole have been there to sing the hooks on joints like “Hold You Down,” and “Keys To The City.” With little to no ladies to compete with in ALC’s camp of collaborators, Nina Sky can shine. Especially in the case of going Mad Decent, Malcua is already holding things down.
Wanna bring the ’90s back? How about an album by Red Cafe featuring the full cooperation of Nina Sky. Chef Boy Izzr had Nina Sky cover Gina Thompson’s “The Things You Do” chorus for a straight-forward take on Gina’s classic. Hate him or love him, Cafe at least has a place on New York radio given DJ Envy (formerly of Hot 97, and now Power 105.1) has his back getting records like “I’m Ill” into heavy rotation. It’s movin’!
Despite coming off as pause-worthy, Cipha Sounds could be a third member of Nina Sky. Having deejayed for them in their video for “Move Your Body,” he’s credited with some of their greatest success crossing over into dancehall, reggaeton, and pop music. It helps to cast a wide net when you’re a new artist looking to make your mark on all genres. But being pigeonholed into dancehall and reggaeton is part of the identity crisis affecting Nina Sky. With Nicole’s rise as a permanent fixutre in New York nightlife under the alias Ni** Sky, she could partner with Cipha and breathe new life into NY’s airwaves.
The Musical was the original title to Nina Sky’s follow-up to In A Dream. Ryan Leslie was tapped to produce a bulk of the album’s tracks, most of which showed off their real vocal talent. R. Les rarely does that with his female muses (*cough* Cassie), but did it with Nicole and Natalie.
N.O.R.E had Nina Sky keep his homie Big Punisher’s memory alive by shouting out “Boricua, Morena,” on the hook for “Oye Mi Canto.” The song’s huge success should still keep the lights on, if not for them, then for N.O.R.E., who brought reggaeton into homes that didn’t even know Puerto Rico was still considered U.S. soil. And thanks to Nina Sky’s resurrection of Joe and Pun’s “Still Not A Player” you don’t have to speak spanish to sing along when the Puerto Rican Day parade rolls around.