5 December, 2013@5:56 am
The state of New York hip-hop has been in flux over the past decade or so. Major labels do not want to support the boom-bap foundations that this art was birthed upon, leading to the more polished sound of artists like Jay-Z, Ruff Ryders, or 50 Cent, who dominated the scene during the Bush era. Records like “Big Pimpin’”, “Make It Rain”, and “Down Bottom” would inevitably lead to where we are now: New York rappers that sound like Southern rappers (French Montana, A$AP Rocky). Perhaps Nas’ theory that “Hip-Hop is Dead” has finally come to pass.
But there’s a new generation of artists on the horizon, coming out of the New York scene right now, via it’s “Beast Coast” movement. Its about as loose-knit as the Native Tongues or the extended Wu-Tang family, but makes up crews like Flatbush Zombies, A$AP Mob, Joey Bada$$’s Pro Era crew and Queens-based collective World’s Fair. World’s Fair have yet to make the splash that Pro Era or A$AP has, but may just be next in line. Making up the crew are Children Of The Night – a trio consisting of Remy Banks, Nasty Nigel, and Lanksy Jones; then there’s Cody B. Ware, Prince SAMO, and Jeff Donna. They are a multi-racial crew of emcees you’ve never heard of from different parts of Queens, and they are bringing back that old boom bap, with a futuristic twist.
Bastards Of The Party is the group’s debut album, presented by always-ahead-of-the-curve imprint, A-Trak’s Fool’s Gold Records. Their style is raw and unapologetic, as they channel the 90′s sound perfectly on songs like “Heathrow” – a modern flip on Show & AG’s “Next Level (Remix)” or the backpack basement banger “Nem Diggas”, which finds them rocking the classic call-and-response style over minimalist breaks. Songs like “V.S.O.P.” and “B.O.T.P.” will bring back memories of the indie hip-hop era, begging for a 12″ single pressed up by Fat Beats.
“Your Girl’s Here Pt. II” is the closest thing the crew has to a “single”, a braggadocious posse cut that works as an introductory anthem for the crew, with a hook that boasts “I’m riding (Riding) / I’m rolling (Rolling) / That fire (Fire) / Is potent (Potent) / We pouring (Pouring) / That hundred proof / A hundred bitches (Coming through!) / A hundred shots come at you / Doe, don’t get too comfortable / World’s Fair, your girl’s here / And she feeling wonderful…” It’s a hook infectious enough to warrant an underground hit, and defines the crew’s persona as a whole.
However a six deep crew of new emcees with no clear “leader” makes it hard to tell them apart at this early in the game. Like early listens to Enter The 36 Chambers, its sensory overload with several different voices and personalities coming at you throughout the entirety of Bastards Of The Party. But look how that turned out…
For every action, there’s an equal and opposite reaction. World’s Fair is not only an answer to the rampant commercialization of hip-hop as a whole, but also the smaller microcosm of New York rap itself. While this is not a perfect album, the more that the Queens collective grows and defines itself, the more likely it is to get better with time.
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