So you attention-deficient types thought I was just gonna deal with old rap, huh? Despite what you might believe, New York is never falling-off, getting played-out or losing when it comes to this hip-hop shit. You can keep your Soundscan figures – here’s some tracks from the last couple of years that demonstrate there’s a lot more going on in the Rotten Apple than Pap and Saigon.
Black Rob - “Question & Answers”
I would’ve said something about “Free Black Rob” but as he says on this mixtape exclusive from before The Black Rob Report dropped: “I did the crime and I did that bid” (courtesy of DJ Uncle Rico).
AZ featuring Biggie Smalls - “Stay Alive [Broken Language Blend]”
The album version of this song was screaming out for a remix – the original beat was horrible. Thanks to Statik Selektah throwing on the classic Smoothe Da Hustler track and jamming a B.I.G. verse in the middle, we can appreciate AZ’s superior verses in full.
Juggaknots - “Namesake”
From the new album due later this month, Breezley Brewin’ responds to some newjack who’s trying to swagger-jack his crew’s name on some shiesty legal shit, while dropping his crew’s resume for those that continue to snooze on this indy powerhouse. Plus dude’s style is one of the most original out there right now – try and keep up dummies.
Raekwon The Chef - “Heavyweights”
Further building on the anticipation of Cuban Linx II, Rae follows up that ill “State of Grace” cut with this J-Love assisted piece from the Only Built For The Streets II mixtape. “Feds latch on us – we catch amnesia.”
P Brothers featuring Boss Money (BMG) - “Blam Blam For Nottingham”
The hardest track you’ll hear this year. This song will make you want to crack someone in the dome with a beer bottle, which is exactly what we need more of these days.
Sadat X featuring Heltah Skeltah - “The Great Diamond D”
Sadat may well be the only MC from his era who still wins, as he keeps improving with age. Combined with Sean P, Rock and an eerie Diamond D beat, this is some serious heat. “Y’all dudes got dreams? I’mma snatch me one”.
Milano - “Warriors Drum”
Having paid his dues with the Terror Squad and Diggin’ In The Crates crews, Milano is currently preparing his long-delayed debut for T-Ray‘s Beatdown Recordings. This mixtape leak is from a while back but showcases his buttery flow perfectly.
Blaq Poet - “Poet’s Comin’”
If you don’t know about Poet’s 20 years in the trenches, read this. This Premier-driven heater is a perfect example of a classic QB gutter anthem. Special shout out to the “thug bitches that don’t play the kitchen, they play the street/cos fuck it, a hoe’s gotta eat!”
Joell Ortiz - “Been There, Done That”
No doubt you caught Eskay‘s interview with Ortiz on this site following his Aftermath deal, but he’s been on the grind for more than a minute, having put out records with Rawkus back in 2001 when he was calling himself Jo-Ell Quikman. This song’s from an indy joint he did for Hydra in 2004, produced by his man Mike Heron (who explained that Joel has “got the Puerto Rican community in a fuckin’ headlock”).
Rock Marciano - “MC’s”
The U.N. would have to be one of the most over-looked crews in recent times. Despite a deal with Carson Daley‘s short-lived 4,5,6 rap label, not many people heard their album, which is a shame because it was one of the most hardcore releases in years in terms of raw beats and rhymes. This joint is from Marcy’s solo mixtape from a couple of years ago, and is on some Summertime-anthem type shit over a killer flute break. Strong Island still killing it.
P Brothers featuring Smiley The Ghetto Child - “Scriptures”
Another winner from Nottingham’s finest, this was my pick for “Best Single of 2005″. Between the moaning broad in the background, the bangin’ drums and Smiley’s raspy voice, this is that certified dope.
Keep copping that Unkut product.