Namir Blade's Beautiful, Dystopic, Extraterrestrial Rap

Nashville's Namir Blade seemed to emerge out of nowhere with the fully formed vision of Aphelion's Traveling Circus, a concept album with an elaborate sci-fi narrative, witty, theatrical skits and prismatic musicality released on the respected indie hip-hop label Mello Music Group in late September. In reality, the 28-year-old, singing rapper and multi-instrumentalist producer has spent the better part of his life finding — or, more accurately, fashioning — his artistic identity. He's one of several ascendant hip-hop music-makers who attended Nashville School of the Arts — Ron Gilmore, Jr.,