New York Un(w)rapped
NYC hip-hop artists break boundaries with unconventional influences
Media / 15 Nov 2011
Today’s rappers are less inclined to boast about girls and guns and, with the advent of social listening, many are no longer restricting themselves to a specific regional sound. Could this change signal the demise of the formerly fatal East versus West feud? Not necessarily, but as New York magazine pointed out recently, several new artists are restoring faith in the future of hip-hop.
A$AP Worldwide: Lately, rappers have been steering clear of signing with major labels, but A$AP Worldwide couldn’t resist the allure of Sony/RCA subdivision Polo Ground Music’s reported $3 million deal. Currently on tour with Drake, the A$AP clan is charging ahead on the road to hip-hop stardom. Led by “pretty motherf!$&erA$AP Rocky, the group’s Houston-by-way-of-Harlem sound is sometimes sizzurp slow, sometimes ’90s nostalgic. Unlike its predecessors, A$AP doesn’t identify with most New York rappers and doesn’t stick to East Coast style. In fact, Rocky is open about his dandyish tendencies, is a recently converted vegetarian, and is a fearless supporter of his so-called competition on the opposite coast.
Clams Casino: Twenty-four-year-old Clams Casino got his break by messaging The BasedGod on MySpace (yes, really) and though he’s produced hits for his idol, they’ve never met. With superbly emotive beat-making skills, Casino has quickly climbed the ladder of hip-hop hierarchy to produce for some of the biggest names on both coasts. At times both melancholy and exultant, Casino’s sounds have broken down the barriers between hard knocks gangsta rap and new age experimental sounds. Honorably self-made, he released his first mix tape, Instrumentals, for free and has since made a niche for himself putting spins on samples from artists as mainstream as Adele and Imogen Heap.
Action Bronson: According to his Wiki page, Queens-born rapper Action Bronson holds a day job at Astoria, NY’s Roti Boti restaurant. Though this biographical fact provides some insight into why he named his first mix tape Bon Appetit… and often rhymes about food, it does not explain why he’s been compared to hip-hop legend Ghostface Killah. Indeed, he collaborated on Wu-Tang’s 2011 Legendary Weapons and has his own highly anticipated first studio recording scheduled for release at the end of this month. Titled Well Done, can one assume that is how he prefers his steak? Either way, it’s no mystery that his audience will be declaring its devotion upon their first listen.
©The Intelligence Group