During his time in the public eye, Japanese fashion icon Nigo has been a man of few words and famously great taste. Both traits are intact across 2022’s I Know NIGO!, a compilation album where the BAPE founder taps a small handful of his favorite hip-hop artists, all of whom have been spotted in the designer’s fashions over the years. The verses, however, are hardly drip-dependent.
I Know NIGO! features multiple appearances from coke-rap devotee Pusha T, Nigo’s BBC and Ice Cream labels business partner Pharrell, and Tyler, The Creator and A$AP Rocky, who, outside of their respective solo outings, deliver a rap-off on “Lost and Found Freestyle 2019” in the tradition of the pair’s 2018 track “Potato Salad.” Elsewhere, there are mosh-pit-ready big-room anthems from Lil Uzi Vert and A$AP Ferg (“Heavy,” “Paper Plates”), one of the most well-enunciated verses of ATL spitter Gunna’s entire career (“Functional Addict”), a little hip-house from Nigo’s own group Teriyaki Boyz (“Morë Tonight”), and a rock-solid reminder of why Pop Smoke remains the face of Brooklyn drill rap a full two years after his death (“Remember”). There’s a lot to digest within the album’s 11 tracks, but Nigo was on the same mission here as he was when creating the BAPE pieces that superfans still scour the internet for: He was making something intended to outlast any single season.