Written by Leo Lysius
It comes as no surprise that Brooklyn and the NYC drill scene is currently dominating, and it has been in the past few years. East Flatbush’s very own Bobby Shmurda left his mark back in 2014 with his Billboard chart-topping anthem, “Hot N*gga” (which peaked at No. 6 on the Hot 100), before he was sentenced to seven years in prison for various criminal charges alongside his GS9 posse.
There are a slew of other notable mentions when it comes to drill, which is sub-genre of Hip-Hop with a particular gritty and street sound, that originated in the UK. Since it’s inception in the mid-2010’s, artists like Chief Keef and Lil Durk have made one helluva of an impression in ushering this new movement into the American rap scene. Both artists from Chicago and have been around before the likes of Shmurda and Rowdy Rebel. Arguably, a lot of Hip-Hop fans have of course debated on which city has had the better drill rappers. Is it NY or the Chi? I’m biased. I’m from Brooklyn, so rightfully so, I’ll always support my city. We were fortunate enough to interview Bobby back in October 2014 at Barclay’s Center for that year’s Power 105’s Powerhouse concert in his dressing room. It was a monumental moment for Hip-Hop culture, as well as New York (the birthplace of the genre). It felt like we were making a comeback, especially considering the south (particularly Atlanta) had dominated for over a decade prior to those artists mentioned earlier came along. New York rap was back!
Fast forward to 2019, a newcomer by the name of Pop Smoke, who grew up in the Canarsie neighborhood of Brooklyn made his presence felt when he dropped his 808Melo-produced hit, “Welcome to the Party.” He made so much noise that year, the Queen Nicki Minaj hopped on the official remix, and her co-sign alone took him straight to the top of the Billboard charts. He followed up with RIAA-certified platinum hits like “Dior,” “Mood Swings,” “The Woo” and “For the Night.” He was solidified as the new King of New York, respectfully. Unfortunately, Pop’s burgeoning rap career got cut short when he was murdered in a home invasion back in February 2020 while staying in Los Angeles. Since his passing, artists like Fivio Foreign, Rah Swish, Smoove’L, Fetty Luciano, Mr. Swipey, Ron Suno, Sheff G and Sleepy Hallow have all made a splash on the NY drill scene.
But it wasn’t until the tail end of 2020 (in the midst of a pandemic), did another fellow Brooklyn rookie who dubs himself as Dusty Locane emerged almost out of nowhere with his “Rollin N Controllin Freestyle” back in August. On first listen, you can hear the scary similar and resemblance to Pop Smoke’s heavy baritone voice in Dusty’s tone. A lot of fans have questioned his authenticity after drawing comparisons between both artists, mainly due to the fact that Pop was taken from us in an untimely manner, at the tender age of just 20. While, Dusty is brand new to the game and is already making a drastic splash with his music, you can’t deny his star power with the little bit he’s offered thus far.
Back in November, he bounced back with the follow up, “Rolando (Caught in the Rain),” which is where people noticed even more the similarity to Pop, from his distinctive ad-libs and growl over his tracks. In recent interviews, Dusty has paid his respects to the late great rapper, and clarified that they actually knew each other coming up and went to elementary school together. He sat down with Fucious TV last month, where he addressed the comparisons and why he didn’t want to over shine his success while he was alive and waited his turn.
Dusty, whose real name is still unknown to the world is only 21 years old. He was born on June 11, 1999 (Gemini) in Canarsie to West Indian parents. His mother is of Trinidadian descent, while his father is Haitian. He grew up on Soca, gospel and R&B music, and even was singing as a kid before going on to play basketball in college, which only lasted a semester. Dusty says rapping was never a thing coming up, and that he started taking it seriously about eight months ago after doing a bid in jail.
When talking about some of his musical influences, he cites Jay-Z, The Notorious B.I.G., and 2pac as some of the emcees he looked up to. Ironically, Biggie is one of them. Remember back in the day when people were appalled when another Brooklynite by the name of Shyne burst onto the scene with a similar deep tone, which left people wondering if it was intentional or authentic. Years later, artists like Gorilla Black and Gravy would catch the same slack for their resemblance in voice. Shyne eventually created a lane for himself and was gifted with the success of platinum and gold albums. I can see Dusty heading down the same path once fans are afforded to hear more from his catalog this year.
Signed to a distribution deal with Empire, Dusty is quickly taking the internet by storm by far, and its all happening very rapidly. Our very own Bonnie Walker, whose a staff writer at MusicXclusives had the pleasure of attending the rising star’s listening session in Miami just last month, where he’s been recording lately. She connected with his A&R, Bobby Fisher and listened to some of the new music he has on the way this year before the release of his debut project.
Last week, he released his latest offering, “Rumble,” which is already picking up steam on streaming platforms and proves he’s got what it takes to hang with the best of them. My question now to you is, who would like to see the young boy collaborate with? I’m curious to see where he goes next, and how his career unfolds. And with rumors circulating that Bobby Shmurda is being released later this month, and Rowdy Rebel already out, it’s going to be interesting to see how NYC’s drill scene plays out in 2021. All of them being affiliated in some facet or just genuine love for one another based on street ties and history growing up in Brooklyn.
What do you think of Dusty Locane? Do you think he’s the new leader of Brooklyn drill? Does he have what it takes to fill the void that Pop Smoke left?