Best New Rapper: LA’s 03 Greedo

Will Hagle takes a look at 03 Greedo, a great young rapper from Watts.
By    August 14, 2017

Will Hagle sings the blues.

03 Greedo reminds me of LA’s version of Kodak Black. Once you hear it, it’s hard to ignore. Most of LA’s rising young rappers have resisted incorporating the Southern sing-rap style into the west coast sound. 03 Greedo fully embraces it.

03 Greedo, who hails from Watts and is quick to let you know where specifically, has even acknowledged on record the influence Kodak Black had on him. On “Molly / Never,” 03 Greedo raps: “I’m from Cali but I never fuck with Roscoes / But I got chickens in the kitchen like it’s Roscoes / My favorite song by Kodak Black is probably ‘Gospel’ / Or ‘Fed Up,’ really all his shit is hot though.”

You can hear elements of the vocal and recording techniques Kodak used on “Gospel” in 03 Greedo’s “Mafia Business.” The song sounds like multiple tracks of Greedo’s slightly raspy voice are flying through the speakers, forming together into a smooth, clean melody. Greedo uses Autotune, but only as a tool to better convey the bluesy emotion behind his lyrics.

03 Greedo is also a producer and has a natural ear for beats and the way his recorded vocals sound over them. For proof, listen to “Never Bend.” The beat is innovative and the way 03 Greedo layers his voice over it makes it incredible. It sounds unlike anything else, even Kodak, and may be one of the best local songs of the year.

The video for “Mafia Business” acts as a eulogy for someone from Watts named Mafia Ray. The video includes shots of the man’s family and children. Like many of 03 Greedo’s visuals, it’s an homage to his neighborhood. Despite the hyperlocal nature of the song, “Mafia Business” has done surprisingly well online this year. It’s also done well despite its six-minute runtime, as has the aforementioned “Molly / Never” video, which is equally as long and has several thousand views. There’s a lot of 03 Greedo online to sift through. Purple Summer, his album from last year, runs 40 songs and nearly two hours long.

Greedo, like Kodak, shows potential to appeal to fans beyond the city that’s been shaping his style. He’s been leveraging the success of “Mafia Business” into other opportunities, which appear to be paying off well. His Instagram bio reads “$5k a verse $5k a beat Period.” He’s also playing the upcoming POW Records show at the Echo on Monday night. If you’re in LA, you should come through because it’s free and there’s a chance you’ll hear that “Never Bend” beat live and loud. If you’re not in LA, you should familiarize yourself with 03 Greedo now before he inevitably stops in your hometown on a headlining tour.