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Ezra Letra: The Nobody EP 

"I'm part scholarly / the other part is a vulture," spits Queens born, Arizona-based rapper Ezra Letra on "A Nobody." That's not entirely true; Letra is an extremely accomplished poet when he's not rapping, and almost everything he proclaims has multiple meanings. So when he says he's a vulture in a song whose title would be the first half of the clichéd rags-to-riches narrative had nearly any other rapper written it, he might be bragging about scavenging, though he's more likely to be picking at the scraps of Crime and Punishment than Kool and the Gang records.

Letra's level of articulation and depth is something of a double edged sword—it's difficult to listen to The Nobody as pop music, without the unusually literate rhymes taking center stage. There's no question about his skills—his clear, punchy flow encompasses a variety of emotions while Beatsmith Medore's excellent and evocative beats are almost symphonic.

The themes of alienation, disenfranchisement, and release found only in the annihilation of various states of consciousness prevalent throughout The Nobody hit a profound nerve. Letra's worldview of reductionism, turned upside down in a refrain from "I Can't Believe" ("Good things happen to those who give a fuck"), suggest that hip-hop may prove to be too constraining for the extraordinary Ezra Letra.

More by Joshua Levine

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