“They may hate me and crucify me but no, they won’t deny me,” Baltimore’s own, Jimmy Mann proclaims on The Nile’s opening track, “Let The Nile In.”
From the first track, it is clear that young visionary’s focus is legacy – building a name that many will remember for generations to come. On his debut album, The Nile, the 32-year-old tells a divine story encapsulating all of his life experiences that have led up to this defining moment. Released Friday (Jan. 14), The Nile holds 13 songs and runs smoothly for 45 minutes.
The standout moments continue as listeners arrive at The Niles lead single, the classic “It Feels Good To Be Here.” Here, Mann boasts about his God-given talent and credentials while embracing life’s challenges. Poetic and suave, he strings his words together calmly. Like an unstoppable freight train, he rips the classical beat with utter ease. Despite the roadblocks that have been presented to him, he smiles in their faces as he conquers each obstacle. Unbothered, focused, and graceful, Mann makes it clear that there’s nobody of his caliber.
Although life can be so heavy, Mann takes the time to remain grateful. The Nile focuses much on reflection. For example, on the cinematic sounding “Pictures I Paint,” Mann looks back on his upbringing. Staying true to himself, he vividly details the various ups and downs that helped to shape him. The storytelling here is flawless as listeners get a candid picture of the stories Mann lays on the wax. This mafia-appealing production feels theatrical as if one should hear this on a movie soundtrack. It amplifies his words and makes for a noteworthy track.
Mann’s bravado increases on the swift “My Name is Jimmy.” Over a smooth, upbeat Alicia Key’s sample, Mann dedicates this track to his lovely wife. He presents listeners with this cat-and-mouse flow as he spits his game and lets her know he’s exactly who he says he is. The record finds Mann having some fun with his bars while maintaining that bold confidence heard throughout the album. Proclaiming himself as the man of his city, he showcases all of the ways he can change his lover’s life.
From the jump, The Nile shows itself to be a project made with intention. The intention manifests even more on tracks such as “Set Me Free,” “I Believe,” & “My Place.” Mann turns his debut effort into a family affair. On “Set Me Free,” Mann’s daughter is the true star of the show. Precious and pure, she warms hearts uttering the words “Go Dada” towards the end of the track. The focus of love and family continues on “I Believe,” the album’s only interlude. Again, dedicating his fiery love for his wife, he promises again to change her life (and her last name). Before reaching the second half of the album, he charges his partner to take a chance with him. Sampling Teddy Pendergrass’ “Come Go With Me,” he vows to honor her and love her properly.
Upon arriving at The Nile’s second half, Jimmy Mann takes the intensity up a notch. On “Delighted” the Baltimore native literally goes off for the entire duration of the track. Rapping about fortune, blood lineage, and staying set apart from his competition. “Delighted” feels like a full-blown Jay-Z moment as Mann takes pure joy in setting all straight on who is really a game shaker. The intricate wordplay continues on enticing “Mystical Creature,” another lead single.
Mann names himself a general amongst sergeants as he boasts his skill and talent. With confidence similar to artists such as J. Cole and Kendrick Lamar, he makes his listeners believe every bar he utters out of his mouth. Alluding himself to that of a mystical creature, he makes it known that he’s exactly what the industry lacks. One of the most heartfelt moments comes on the moving “Letter To Marsha,” track. Dedicated to his late mother Marsha Mann, Mann gives her every flower possible, honoring his best friend. He effortlessly counts the ways his mother invested in him and built him into the man he is today. Poetically touching, Mann beautifully pens art as he pays homage to his first love.
Before the album ends, listeners arrive at The Nile’s final single, “Calling for Me.” Again, over Godly production, Mann again tells his tale detailing how the life of success was destined for him. The monumental beat feels like Drake & Rick Ross’ “Lord Knows” amplifying each and every word Mann speaks. Prophetic, he lifts himself up as he continuously speaks life over himself and his family. He knows his life is not just his own and he makes sure the flow exhibits that.
It’s seemingly perfect that the album’s last song “River of Truth/Walk in the Nile.” Refocusing his listeners on the album’s main topic, Mann engulfs them within the Nile. Introducing them in the beginning, he ends the project in which he started, celebrating the Nile. He praises the restorative elements of the Nile as he highlights identity and culture. His anointed verses transcend materialistic matters and superficial desires. Mann’s focus is peace, longevity, and abundance. He utilizes the Nile for clarity and definitive truths. Mann embraces his gifts and purpose. As the song transitions, there is a high level of spirituality that flows within Mann’s pen. Before ending the song, he transforms into the very mythical creature he declares himself to be and delivers a moving poem that embodies the album’s entirety.
Ultimately, The Nile is a truly impressive debut. Mann touches on self-awareness, boldness, faith, spirituality, and much more. While still so young, his storytelling ability and wisdom go beyond his years. He delivers a compelling body of work that praises blackness, family, wealth, and peace. The Nile is not meant to be some project to be played for a turn-up session or a pregame. However, it restores your soul and is a reminder to chase your dreams while being your utmost authentic self. The songs truly make you want to boss your sh*t up and grow.
The production is truly impeccable. From the samples to beat selection, The Nile pays homage to traditional Hip-Hop. The tracks feel like past records but add a new, innovative perspective to them. The album forces you to be still and reflect even as you listen to Mann’s personal story. It is only a matter of time until the entire world knows the name, Jimmy Mann.
Stream Jimmy Mann’s The Nile below.