LA’s Nfant is Up Next

Will Schube takes a look at LA rising star, Nfant.
By    January 8, 2019

Will Schube is really from Valley Village.

The “Really From the Village” remix is a puzzle, and Nfant is the missing piece. The warbly-voiced Blood born and raised in the aforementioned Baldwin Village was put on by Hot Sauce, but since that track’s second quarter release, Nfant has built upon his show stealing verse to establish himself as up next. He’s got the smirking delivery of YG with a slipperiness that recalls 1TakeJay one xanny bar in.

Nfant built a following as Lil Infant back in 2016 on the heels of “Red Flag,” a track that booms with bass and handclaps. It’s minimalism because it needs to be, with Infant laying down verse after verse without stopping to lay down a chorus. This is four minutes of a fairly simple beat and nothing other than Lil Infant’s voice. It’s a desperate and enthralling performance when given the chance. It’s fantastic. Charisma can be overvalued but every word the Village kid spits feels like something. His work veers from hood anthems to spurning the longing looks of women, not particularly unstamped terrain, and yet, Nfant is fresh as hell.

Three years on and a name change later, Nfant’s style hasn’t changed, but his confidence and the little things have improved. He’s less pocket-averse now, raspily sitting in the warm bobble of 808s on “Reloaded.” In the video, he makes Sangria look cool, shows off new moves to his homies instead of attending to the plethora of women on his hotel room bed, and treats a boombox like his best friend. While the beat stays musically unadventurous, it offers Nfant room to showcase his infectious personality. Nfant’s work aims to establish that these aren’t songs as much as they are performances, insights into one of LA’s most exciting characters.

On “50 klip” Nfant turns a motel courtyard into a glamour shoot, all the while displaying his most diverse musical chops to date. Over cop sirens, elastic, bass-y synths, and string samples that grasp like a chokehold, Nfant captures an older era of rap music more reminiscent of East Coast menace than West Coast cool.

While “Really From the Village” helped contextualize Nfant within the rest of Baldwin Village’s rap scene, the emcee has proven himself to be more than a commodity within LA’s ecosystem. He’s a unique voice, less dependent on his city for his sound than he is intent on always keeping it percolating beneath the surface. It’s an awareness of space but a restlessness with, and a defiance of, stasis. In Nfant’s world, he’s the star and LA is his backdrop.

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