Written by Aidan Werder
1) DJ KaySlay – “Rollin 50 Deep”
New York’s legendary DJ Kayslay is literally rolling 50 deep on “Rollin 50 Deep” – the most outrageous and disrespectful lineup of 50 of the most legendary emcees to ever touch the mic. It opens with DJ KaySlay delivering a reminder to the younger generation that there was a time before the melodies and the dances. Hip hop was built on bars – and KaySlay and 50 of his closest friends jumped on this insane 18 minute bar-fest to make sure you don’t forget it. The beat was produced by Trackateering Music, and the logistical nightmare of a visual was directed by NY staple, BenjiFilmz. As it’s where it all began, it only makes sense that the list is New York heavy, with a few notable exceptions. There’s really not much else to say about this piece of history without seeing it for yourself, so here’s a list of who’s featured on this mind blowing display of RAP (if you can believe it).
Sheek Louch, Styles P, Benny The Butcher, Bun B, Ghostface Killa, Raekwon, AZ, Papoose, Ransom, Memphis Bleek, Billy Danze, Lil Fame, Dave East, 3D Na’Tee, Joel Ortiz, Saigon, Mistah F.A.B., Chris Rivers, Jon Connor, Twista, E-40, Nino Man, Shoota93, Mysonne, Sauce Money, Ice-T, Trick Trick, RJ Payne, EA Ski, Fred The Godson (RIP), Loaded Lux, Termanology, Young Noble, E.D.I. Mean, Lock Smith, Cassidy, Maino, Vado, Rockness, DJ Paul, Mc Gruff, Stan Spit, Uncle Murda, Cory Gunz, Melle Mel, Grandmaster Caz, Trae Tha Truth, Bynoe, Hocus 45th, Royce Da 5’9.
2) Sheff G – “Lights On”
Sheff G is back with “Lights On,” his first single since the joint track with Sleepy Hallow “Tip Toe” dropped in August. With “Lights On,” Sheff continues to show why he and the Winners Circle camp have separated themselves from the rest of the Brooklyn drill pack – featuring his signature half-rap-half-sung flow over huge production from in-house producer Great John, set to an extravagant visual that reads like a highlight reel of the young Brooklyn stars’ comeup. The Sheff G and Ryan Lynch directed visual features big chains, big private jets, and of course big breesh. As always, Sheff’s memorable vocals are an instrument unto themselves, continuing to showcase his ability to command intricate melodies over a haunting, bass-heavy drill beat. “Lights On” definitely gives listeners the sense that more is on the way. When you hear this track, you can’t help but think it sounds like an intro record… which if we’re lucky means we can expect to see some new music from Sheff G and the Winners Circle Camp. Fingers crossed.
3) French Montana “Wave Blues” feat. Benny The Butcher
French Montana continues his recent streak of singles with one of his best records in recent memory “Wave Blues” – aided by Buffalo’s favorite butcher. On his second single ahead of the upcoming ‘Coke Boys 5’ French is sounding like his old self and fans are loving it. Classic autotuned French vocals over crisp production from veteran producer Arizona Slim featuring a simple, sampled chorus sets the stage perfectly for yet another absolutely killer Benny The Butcher verse. An unexpected but well-executed collab, “Wave Blues” is a super solid track that may very well end up being the new crowd-favorite French track.
4) Niko Brim – “Bonita”
Mount Vernon’s Niko Brim dropped his new single “Bonita” last week ahead of the release of his upcoming EP ‘B4 The Throne’ dropping in December. Produced by longtime friend and collaborator, Grammy-nominated producer Tank God, “Bonita” is a high-energy record with a classic, throwback feel punctuated by a range of percussion and brass instrumental sounds. Niko Brim, son of longtime music industry executive JoJo Brim, is finding his voice both on and off the mic, honing his craft but also finding ways to make an impact on the world around him. From working with the legendary Ms. Opal Lee earlier this year to help lead a massive Juneteenth initiative collecting over 1.5M signatures, to hosting his own IG Live Series called Power Hour to bring on guests to discuss issues facing the black community, to now getting ready to coheadline WhyHunger’s upcoming HungerThon event – a virtual fundraising concert to raise money to help support the 50M+ food insecure people in this country. Be sure to check out Niko’s latest single “Bonita,” tune in to the next installment of Niko’s Power Hour on IG Live, and be on the lookout for that new project ‘B4 The Throne’ dropping December 14th.
5) Young MA – “Bad Bitch Anthem”
Young MA, the Kween of NY, is back with another signature single in true Young MA fashion. Even though it’s basically what all her singles are, this time she decided to come out and call it exactly what it is, a “Bad Bitch Anthem” – making it crystal clear who this record is for with “This not a man song. This the bad bitch anthem.” A master of bops and easily one of the most successful independent artists out of NY, Young MA seems perfectly content to come out of the cut a few times a year with certified club banger like this one… and we’re so happy when she does. Go cop that ‘RedFlu’ EP out now
6) Flee Lord & Mephux – “Icewater” feat. Roc Marciano
Far Rockaway’s Flee Lord is a true rapper’s rapper – and has been dropping a mind blowing amount of music this year… releasing his tenth album of 2020…. I repeat, tenth album of 2020 last month. He’s dropping so much music he can’t even up with his own pace. On Friday he dropped the visual for “Icewater,” a record with Mephux featuring Roc Marciano – a song off ‘Pray for the Evil 2’… which was 3 project ago… which dropped only 3 months ago. The track is a classic entry from Flee Lord and co – with the 3 emcees dropping dense, gritty bars over old-school production in back alleys and outside boarded up houses. The pace at which Flee Lord is dropping bar-laden masterpieces cannot be overstated – and if you’re a fan of bars and not in tune, you better get with it. With ten projects down and two months to go in 2020, there’s no reason not to expect two more ear-splitting albums from Flee before the year is up.
(Boston) Doobie 83 – “Traffic”
Doobie 83 is a massively hidden gem quickly bursting onto the scene out of Boston – even if his remarkable command over the Brooklyn drill sound might have you fooled. His red-hot debut project “Trap Diary Vol 1” and the lead single “Traffic” feat. Dul Based & Moa Cash are almost too good to believe these are Doobie’s first official releases. “Traffic” is a certified drill banger – with hugely dynamic flows, an over-the-top visual, strong verses from the homies Dul Based & Moa Cash, and
Doobie is far from a one trick pony however, displaying a wide range of flows and an ability to create well-crafted songs with broad appeal throughout his debut project ‘Trap Diary: Vol 1’ – at times even reminiscent of the unique and captivating ‘chill drill’ style pioneered by the young legends Sheff G and Sleepy Hallow. An outrageously undiscovered talent quickly rising out of Boston, you can be sure this isn’t the last you’ll be hearing from Doobie 83. When everyone jumps on the bandwagon, just remember you heard it here first!
(Newark, NJ) Tsu Surf – “Quarantine Tales 2 Freestyle”
Newark’s Tsu Surf returns with the follow up to his viral hit “Quarantine Tales Part 1” – which dropped back in April and was surely among one of the first “in-the-crib” visuals made during the COVID lockdowns. This time on Part 2, he picks up the pace and ventures outside the crib to air out his skeletons (which for the record… were alive before). With the backdrop of a gritty autoshop and stunt bikes, Surf delivers 2 minutes of dense, gritty, street talk bars like only Surf can. Produced by Humbeats – who also was featured on Surf’s last album MSYKM, including the standout track 3:27am – ”Quarantine Tales Part 2” is a much needed track from the Newark battle rapper turned rapper rapper. Now, we all want quarantine to end… but hopefully we’ll get a Part 3 before it does.