At his best Gabe ’Nandez‘s raps like a carousel; there’s an energy to his sharp wordplay that makes it feel as if he could carry on spitting as long as the beat runs. Lyrically, meanwhile, he packs plenty of meat onto the bones of the pared-back Tony Seltzer beats he favors. On his new album Pangea, premiering with The FADER today (April 19) before its April 20 release date via P.O.W. Recordings, he takes a bird’s eye view of society over the past few years and boldly chooses optimism.
While chaos surrounded him and a global pandemic threatened to halt his productivity, ’Nandez wrote Pangea from the eye of the storm. The title reflects his belief that the shared experience of COVID could create a unified society, one akin to the ancient supercontinent. Perhaps his Wi-Fi was down, but nevertheless, there’s something heartwarming about listening to fraught and chewy songs like “Pitboss” and “Transaction” while dreaming of a global utopia.
Speaking to The FADER via email, ’Nandez elaborated on some of the themes of the record and the context in which it was made:
Pangea was written and recorded in New York at the height of the pandemic. The frantic, pent-up, high-energy sonics and writing are a byproduct of the manic energy I was operating off of. The whole situation had me alternating between prolonged days of hyper-creativity and numerous days of psychological incapacitation.
“I had initially planned to drop the record in 2020 — the studio where I record was opening and closing due to restrictions, and I ultimately felt like I was ducking a ticking time bomb to complete it. With so much uncertainty in the air, I was preparing for the worst-case scenario regarding the future and what a “free” society might look like from now on. I therefore wanted to make sure I had a historical artistic contribution to make, in case perpetually shit shut down again.
“Although the pandemic isolated us, it, paradoxically, brought us closer. Nearly all human beings across planet Earth shared a unified struggle for the first time in modern history. This collective coming together inspired the title, as did the number of features on the project.”