As we discussed in our review for World’s Fair Bastards Of The Party, the state of New York hip-hop has been in bad shape as of late, with the most popular artists in the region subscribing to Southern styles of rap. While we all dig the South as well, we expect more from the birthplace of hip-hop, as the region has been pretty light in terms of that ol’ boom bap. Troy Ave shares this lament, however comes from a newer generation of rap fan, hoping to bring back the sounds he grew up on, such as 50 Cent, Dipset, and The Firm. Hence the title of his new album, New York City.
To put it lightly, he accomplishes this quite easily. Troy separates himself from the mush-mouthed styles of guys like French Montana with a crisp, clear delivery, and a voice that echoes that of a young 50 Cent. Certain tracks here, such as “I Know Why You Mad” or “Regretful” sound like they’re from the pages of 50 Cent Is The Future, and that’s a good thing. This is no coincidence, as Fif is clearly one of his idols, whom he pays major homage to on “Show Me Love”, flipping the hook from “In Da Club”, and featuring a guest spot from Tony Yayo. We wouldn’t be surprised to see an actual 50 Cent remix in the coming weeks.
But this is far from a G-Unit tribute album, as Troy does reinvigorate the sound of the region in many places on the record. “Classic Feel”, which kicks the album off, lives up to its title, with grimey, underground production and unapologetically raw rhymes. The same can be said for “Cigar Smoke”, which follows, as well as the title track, “New York City”, guest starring Raekwon, Noreaga, and Prodigy, which is an easy contender for one of the best posse cuts of the year. Later on “Hot Out”, Troy goes for a club banger, almost playing like a version of Nas’ “Summertime Smash” that actually works.
While New York City is packed with songs that successfully accomplish what Troy Ave set out to do, it’s not without its faults. He does make the rookie mistake of overstuffing the album with 18 tracks, which ultimately drags the album down a notch with a few less-than-stellar entries (“Viking”, “Piggy Bank”). And, his brand of drug-dealer rap can get tiring after an hour plus of it, which begs the question if there is more than just one dimension to the young emcee.
While the state of New York rap is currently in-flux, its good to see a number of different crews in the region trying to restore the feeling, each with their own sound. Each A$AP Mob, ProERA, World’s Fair, and now Troy Ave, may not have any classics under their collective belt quite yet, but the future of NYC definitely looks promising.
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