A Brief Guide to the New New York Rap

An artist out of Brooklyn by the name of Mr. Muthafuckin’ eXquire has his borough in his blood — a little of Biggie’s deep-lunged authority comes through in his style, and a little of Ol’ Dirty Bastard’s unhinged perviness, too — and he has an underground hit on his hands with a song called “Huzzah,” which was produced by the death-obsessed hardcore veteran Necro. For the remix, he gathered an impressive collection of avant garde MCs — Queens’ Despot, Detroit’s Danny Brown, hometown faves Das Racist, and the venerable Def Jux Records founder El-P (who wears a large mustache and reminds us again how terrific and ahead-of-its-time his old group Company Flow was). Then they all filmed this great video, which puts a goofy, drugged-out spin on the one Bad Boy Records made back in 1995 for the all-star remix of Craig Mack’s “Flava In Ya Ear.”

Here’s that:

And here’s eXquire’s original “Huzzah.”

Another young New York rapper getting a lot of attention now is ASAP Rocky. He’s from Harlem, though his style is more reminiscent of the music that was coming out of Houston, Texas six years ago. Here’s his new song, “Trilla.”

I love that guitar sample. I don’t know what it’s from, but it has a similar feel to one of my all-time favorite samples: that of Japanese fusion guitarist Ryo Kawasaki’s 1977 “Bamboo Child,” as sped up and spun behind Fat Joe’s voice on a short interlude on Diamond D’s 1992 album Stunts, Blunts and Hip-Hop and on Kool G Rap’s 1995 “It’s a Shame (Da Butcher’s Mix).” Man, those eight Ryo Kawasaki notes stay going through my head all the time. Like, to a weird degree.

Another song of ASAP Rocky’s, “Peso,” has been getting some radio play this summer.

But I like this one best, “Purple Swag.”

I like how friendly the girl lip-syncing the lyrics looks. And how ASAP and his friends double-ride each other on their bikes. Like Snoop did in the “Gin and Juice” video. They seem to enjoy life, the ASAP crew. They certainly enjoy smoking pot. Watch them sitting around shooting the breeze in this short video The Fader made earlier this month.

To them, ASAP stands for:

“Always Strive and Prosper”
“Accumulate Status and Power”
“Always Stackin’, Always Paperchasin’”
“Assasinatin’ Snitches And Police”


“Acronym Symbolizing Any Purpose”

and also,

“Articulate Sour-diesel And Purp”

Whoa! Everybody really likes that one! Pass the bong! These guys are having some fun.