Peace to Queens and Polo
I want to take a minute to properly dap what New York City rap has going on right now. If you rock a lot of Polo, hang out with Harry Fraud and/or are from the borough of Queens right now, I’m probably fuckin with you (assuming you rap). That’s a really vague way to describe an entire rap scene, but fuck it.
Harry Fraud gets Action Bronson on a track with French Montana for this Scion-sponsored “Mean” joint and I like it. French is great at singing badly on hooks (like not Young Thug bad but still bad in a good way). It’s some chilly riding music. (I’m aware French isn’t from Queens.)
Action Bronson’s been getting the star treatment in the scene, but please don’t sleep on Meyhem Lauren’s Respect the Fly Shit (even though it came out this summer and I’m real late on it) because it’s Queens rap at its finest. It’s a succinct 12 tracks with enough guest spots to keep things interesting. Meyhem barrels his way through his verses in a way that makes you miss some of his wordplay because it sounds so easy (not unlike Roc Marci or MF Doom when he was still trying). He’s also funny as hell, especially on the aggressively unironic “Let’s Hold Hands.”
If you haven’t seen Action Bronson’s ridiculous video for “The Symbol” yet, get on that. Your fat Albanian protagonist dons a stupid blonde wig and huffs and puffs his way through a bunch of sub-Dolemite action. He elbow drops on the table in the middle of a card game then blasts a dude in the chest with a shotty while dressed like Santa Claus. And that’s to say nothing of the song itself, off the forthcoming Rare Chandeliers mixtape. Bronsolino’s Ghostface flow over Alchemist’s low-key rock guitar loop sounds like an album cut from Supreme Clientele augmented by culinary references and a little more humor. “The lamb was laced with fennel” and whatnot.
Heems has kept busy even as it’s unclear what’s happening next with Das Racist. Hurricane Sandy pushed the release date of his Wild Water Kingdom tape back indeterminately, but he’s been leaking tracks here and there. The most recent one is the dense, frantic “Soup Boys (Pretty Drones)” produced by Philly’s Lushlife. The sardonic, semi-political “that drone cool/but I hate that drone” is classic DR jokes. Heems’s partner Kool AD just dropped a video too, for “Manny Pacquaio”. There are chickens and goats and girls and dancing in the rain. (He’s not from Queens though.)