NK INDUSTRY is a multidisciplinary recording artist based in North London. After years of delivering his signature high-octane performances in and around the capital, the Balamii and Threads-affiliated vocalist bided time and honed in on his technical and songwriting abilities. Hard hitting lyricism, rapid flows and flourishes of lightheartedness raise his debut single Somehow, taken from his forthcoming EP ATLAS vol I, a sound that is versatile, striking and unapologetically honest. It also fuckin bangs. Presenting a playlist of beats and lyrics that ooze nostalgia, here he is! [All tracks mentioned except the Frank Ocean mixtape cut are gathered in this playlist]
We’ve all felt nostalgia. Thing is, it takes on so many forms and is usually derived from so many different contexts, that when you’re not in its grasp, it can be difficult to put a finger on what exactly its make up is. What I personally find most interesting about nostalgia as a concept, is one particular focus of its feeling; the sentimentalities we didn’t think we had towards a particular time, person, or location. At times you’ll be surprised you’re even feeling it.
Nostalgia uses our ignorance to its advantage. It seasons mundane life with something familiar, yet out of the ordinary. Sort of like a good magic trick. The final reveal, whether you like it or not, will send a wash of emotion over you, almost like it was never meant to be stopped. You could try, but you won’t want to.
Music has always been a surefire way to bring feelings of nostalgia back to the surface. Here are 10 songs that do it for me:
Flying Lotus’ 2012 album Until The Quiet Comes is one big nostalgia trip for me. I used to listen to the album while depressively revising for exams that genuinely shouldn’t have been given to anyone under the age of 18.
The album helped me realise the power that lies in music with no or little to no lyrics. Looking back, it’s where my initial attraction to electronic music came from.
This song Getting There encapsulates my feelings as a youth growing up in London - fascination, wonder and at times, pain. The short film directed by Kahlil Joseph is undoubtedly my favourite music video of all time.
Isaiah Rashad has the envy-inducing ability to create a detailed, textured portrait of himself which opens up so many ways for young men and women to directly relate to his story. The need to exercise the ego we’ve developed, paired with the lightheartedness in youth itself is what Webbie Flow encapsulates for me. It’s the perfect song for Summer.
At this point we could probably call Frank Ocean the king of nostalgia. Obviously his debut tape Nostalgia, ULTRA lives up to its name, but I believe a lot of Frank’s early and newer appeal derives from his soundscapes, paired with vague, yet nuanced lyrics, the perfect supplement to take you back to somewhere you either have, or have never been before.
The song ‘U-N-I-T-Y’ takes me back to my solo trip to Seoul in 2016. Stood on the landing outside of my flat, 42 floors up, looking down on the city and smoking cigarettes for nothing, looking for a foolish way to destress. I don’t even smoke cigarettes fam.
Foreign 2 takes me back to cold winters in North London. Winters in this city are lethal - no love. You’ll be battered by the wind, rain and people’s ulterior motives like it’s nothing. It’s easy to romanticise it after about 7 years, but this song was and still is a perfect soundtrack to a melancholic mindstate.
From the first time I heard this song, I knew it was a triumph. As soon as the vocal sample, cymbal and bass-line hit, it was over. I was feeling myself.
The comic relief Kanye adds to his commentary on jarring situations and personalities, creates what is essentially an anthem to giving into temptation and losing the principles we’re trying to uphold. It almost allows you to feel okay with the mess your life might be in right now, and to look at things with a more stoic mindset. Whether it’ll be the detriment to yourself or others is another story.
Oh, and we won’t ever forget that Rick Ross verse.
Odd Future. Love or hate them, these lot out of California were probably the most influential music and arts collective in the UK in the early-to-mid 2010’s without anyone even realising. It was damn near a movement, and their influences on pop-culture are only recently becoming more widely acknowledged.
‘Analog 2’ is a deep cut off of ‘The OF Tape Vol 2’, the tongue and cheek young-love anthem we didn’t know we needed at the time. At 24 I’ll still fawn over the lyrics. Tyler, The Creator, Frank Ocean and Syd combined will always make for a summery, in-heat nostalgia trap.
Since 2018, lo-fi and deep house cuts have been a staple in my soundtracks to winter. The beauty in simplicity that lies in a track like Please, Stay brought a unique feeling of nostalgia the first time I heard it. It didn’t take me to a particular place or time, and so it was one of those intriguing moments of not knowing where an emotion was coming from, but knowing it felt good. This track was my gateway into this type of house and I’ve found countless tunes since that make me feel the same within the genre.
Isn’t it mad that a song about wanting to live the life of a cat would bring back so many memories? I was falling in love again during the initial release of this song, and so I equate it to that person, as I knew and was always reminded of their affinity for cats. I tend to get attached to the animal that my long-term love interests like the most. I don’t know why. This song showed me that for some people, animals can be very spiritual. At the time I didn’t know I was also one of those people.
“It’s deep rooted, the music of being young and dumb
“It’s never muted in fact, it’s much louder where I’m from”
By far my favourite Kendrick Lamar record. Through his storytelling he perfectly conveys how it feels to be in the death grip of seduction, causing you to ignore all red flags until it’s too late.
We’ve all been there.
JME’s first few projects were my introduction to grime (shoutout Tempz). The man is a genius. The way he can simplify and make something as basic as a night out going wrong entertaining, always captured my imagination when first hearing it in secondary school. I wouldn’t go on a night out until about 5 years later, but it still resonated.
Listening back now with a fat grin on my mug, I fully understand all of the gripes Jamie had.
NK’s first single Somehow is out now on all streaming platforms. His debut EP is coming in early August 2020.