This week's Friday's Heat features tracks from: Casanova, Royce Da 5'9", The Underachievers, Juvenile & Young Thug, and Ugly God
“Don’t Run (Remix)” by Casanova featuring Fabolous, Dave East, Young MA, and Don Q
Who said New York rap is dead, or that the golden age Hip Hop flavor is stale? Go find them, sit them down, slap them a couple of times, and play “Don’t Run (Remix)” for them. If you’re a proud New Yorker sitting in your Tims, clenching your fists like the Arthur meme, who feels like their city is no longer included in Hip Hop’s most prosperous regions, relax, fix your Yankees fitted, and go bump this Brooklyn-drenched track.
“Dont Run (Remix)” features a wide spectrum of emerging to legendary New York MCs, with up and comers, Casanova and Don Q, rising stars, Young MA and Dave East, and the legendary, smooth rhymer, Fabo, rounding out the ensemble. The combination of talent and reputation is exactly what New York rap is craving. To me, this signifies an OG using his popular brand to bolster his lesser-known cohorts, and put on for their city. For so long, NY has fallen victim to a crabs in a bucket mentality, effectively dragging each other down while tarnishing the legendary city’s reputation. Hopefully, this is a step in a positive direction.
“Let’s Take Them To War (Freestyle)” by Royce Da 5’9”
In honor of Big Sean’s album, I Decided, dropping today, Royce Da 5’9” has released yet another freestyle, this time murdering Sean’s “Moves” beat. Royce has released a barrage of freestyles so far in this young 2017, and he doesn’t seem to be slowing down whatsoever. Maybe it’s the Detroit chemistry between Big Sean and Royce, but the veteran rapper delivers perhaps his best freestyle over this trappy production.
I’m not quite sure what Royce’s angle is here with this slew of freestyles. Does he have pent up aggression from being consistency undervalued? Does he have a chip on his shoulder? Is he looking to expose the crushing wave of mumble rappers? Or is this just a marketing effort for his 2017 album, Book of Ryan? It could be a combination of all these, or it’s possible that Royce is just flexing his lyrical muscle. Regardless of the reason, the result is fantastic, and begs for the freestyle train to keep running.
“Gotham Nights” by The Underachievers
I think the New York Hip Hop families just adjourned a meeting where they discussed restoring the East Coast’s once dominant Hip Hop image. One-Fourth of the Beast Coast movement, The Underachievers, have been relatively quiet since their 2016 mixtape release, It Happened In Flatbush, but they emphatically return on this retro sounding New York cut, “Gotham Nights.” The Underachievers, along with other influential New York players, are pooling their powers to refurbish this once great Hip Hop city’s brand.
“Gotham Nights” finds The Underachievers employing difficult, intricate rhyme schemes that are seamlessly weaved into the nostalgic-sounding beat, simultaneously reminding us of rhyming’s artistry, and why they deserve maximum attention. Using this complex rhyme scheme, they detail their grand aspirations for musical domination that wont be compromised by ephemeral temptations. They know that superficialities don’t determine a man’s true worth. They know what it takes to develop a legacy.
“Red Sox” by Juvenile & Young Thug
This has to be one of the more interesting combinations I’ve seen on a track. Two southern staples unite to create a song that reinforces their region’s current domination. Although they both hail from the south, the interesting aspect of this duo is their stark dichotomy: Juvenile represents yesterday’s gangsta’ rap sound, while Thugger is leading the charge for today’s mumble rappers. This unique contrast serves as a bolstering foil, allowing the two’s distinctly different styles encapsulate and pay tribute to their region.
Their juxtaposing styles part Hip Hop’s Red Sea to attract a diverse audience, allowing their differing styles to peacefully coexist and broadly entice. In theory, employing such differing styles might appear too disparate, but somehow, Juvenile and Thug not only make this divergence work, they make it soar. Listening to the transference of verses will firmly situate you in late ‘90s Hip Hop, and then forcefully transplant you in today’s style. However, the stylistic transition isn’t rocky or abrupt; it’s a smooth torch passing.
“Bitch!” by Ugly God
Ugly God has taken the internet by storm. He’s an enigmatic rapper who uses his esoteric image to separate himself from the onslaught of internet rappers storming Hip Hop’s gates. What started as an underground audience has transitioned into a cult-like following—a situation that Ugly God seemingly flourishes in, and adequately fits his quirky brand. The eccentricity doesn’t stop on his newest track, “Bitch!”
Guess what the most frequently used word is on this song. Stumped? Okay I’ll help you out—it’s bitch! Pick your jaws up off the floor, guys. Despite seemingly limited vocabulary from the song’s title and hook, Ugly God actually delivers relatively eloquent verses, confirming his ability and suggesting his prosperous musical future. Ugly God rhythmically jumps around on this self-produced bubbly production to create a head-bumping track that will soon become pedestrian on your musical rotation. My favorite bars have to be, “I fucked her with no condom but no worries bitch I’m neutered.” Classy.