Beautiful Noise: The New York Rap Roundup, December 2017

Beautiful Noise returns one more time in 2017, looking at new music from 22Gz, Casanova, and more.
By    January 3, 2018

Alphonse Pierre changed his name to Alphonxe Pierre.

US Salon Show December 26th, 2017

Radio has a special place in my heart. I can remember myself at five or six years old laid out in the back seat of my dad’s car as he drove around Brooklyn, socializing for hours. He would usually have Hot 97 on, and knowing him, the volume was on max, which probably wasn’t good for my five year old ears, but whatever it was like 2001. One voice on the radio specifically caught my attention. It was Funkmaster Flex.

Funk Flex’s radio show was almost more of a variety show than traditional radio. He would frequently go on rants, sometimes screaming, and occasionally in a peculiar whisper. Rappers would come on the show to talk about whatever and some would rap—Flex would get really excited when they rapped; you could practically hear him foaming from the mouth. Then, of course, Flex would play music and he was a great DJ dropping his infamous bombs over the tracks, mixing everything together, playing unheard remixes and of course talking over the tracks just to make sure you didn’t forget that you were listening to the Funkmaster Flex show.

Having recently listened to the US Salon Show on Know Wave radio, I was reminded of these great times on radio. Because just like Flex’s show, this felt like a variety show (a very low budget one). Starting off with two of the most talented rappers in New York—MIKE and Medhane—rapping for about 20 minutes followed by DJ sets that could go anywhere (there’s a 20 minute set of techno in here). There’s an interview and friends and other affiliates pop in just to say a couple of words then leave. You learn about them, what they thinkm and what they’re genuinely interested in. It all kind of sounds like a mess, but an organic mess.

Maybe this is a weird thing to be enamored by, as there are plenty of viable reasons why radio doesn’t have the position it used to, but I’ll always appreciate radio for introducing to me to different music—and not Beats1 Radio where it feels like the DJs are financially invested in every single thing they play or an algorithm forming a specialized radio for you based on your interests. It’s reminiscent of a past era where a DJ would just put together a set of things they fucked with. Shoutout radio. New York online radio to be exact.

22Gz & Nas Blicky– “We On”

22Gz officially made his comeback Christmas week, and honestly, it was pretty disappointing. After spending most of 2017 in prison, when 22Gz was released in November it came as a surprise to many, but it looked to be a great thing for Brooklyn rap to have one of their stars return. He released two songs in two days, the first being the obligatory “First Day Out” track which may be the worst 22Gz release to date. The second is a collaboration with Nas Blicky (who has randomly changed the spelling of his name), which is only slightly better.

On “We On” 22Gz takes a backseat to Nas, which is head scratching because this is supposed to be his comeback. The beat is clearly something they found on Youtube for free and the rapping is solid, but it’s not enough. 22Gz needed to come back with a bang, but this is more of a whimper. With Sheff G picking up steam a couple of blocks away, this was a setback for the Blickys.

Casanova– “Set Trippin”

Brooklyn rapper Casanova spent most of his twenties incarcerated and didn’t release his first official song until 2016, but despite his late rap start he has built quite the name for himself in New York. Here, Casanova (over a beat that uses the same sample as A$ap Mob’s “Bath Salts”) is unleashed as he calls out the gang flip flopping happening in New York rap these days. This is the most passionate and engaged I’ve ever heard Casanova, who previously I wasn’t that into…But someone has really pissed him off (a certain rainbow haired Brooklyn rapper) and you can tell. Even if it’s for different reasons, it’s cool to see at least some of Brooklyn fight back against the fake (and fucking creepy).

Don Q– “Trap Phone (Feat. Desiigner)”

I can’t believe it has taken me this long to write about Don Q in here, but it’s time. Don Q and Desiigner link up for a Brooklyn/Bronx collaboration that is sure to get plenty of play in the city in 2018. Don Q has become revered in New York for his attitude, rap cadence from a forgone era, and chemistry with labelmate A Boogie Wit Da Hoodie. “Trap Phone” is the most fun that Don has been in a while and Desiigner brings a lightness to the track that makes it more accessible, as Don Q’s gang boss persona keeps him guarded at times and Desiigner frees him up a bit. The beat is enjoyable and the song, which is a little over three minutes, actually feels about half as long, which is credit to the pacing by both Don and Desiigner on the track. This is a hell of a way to transition into 2018, which will inevitably be an important year for both artists.

Saucyy Sha– “Eleven (Feat. Tommy Newport)”

There’s no better way to end the year of the teenage rapper than with a pre-teen rapper. Saucyy Sha of Harlem, who is only 11 years old—as he says over and over on “Eleven” (“I’m eleven and I’m chilling”)—first came to my attention on Twitter at the end of December. He took to Twitter to Tweet at user/blog Internet Hippy that he was an Eleven year old rapper from Harlem looking to get noticed and Internet Hippy gave him a repost enjoying the story and the song itself.

Eventually, No Jumper came across it as well and Tweeted out the link and he received Soundcloud reposts from both Ka5sh and Nedarb (who has apparently already given him a beat). This may or may not lead to anything, but the song is cool for what it is. Regardless, of whether this is an eleven year old being propped up by an older family member looking for some rap clout. it’s still interesting to see. I’m looking forward to what Saucyy Sha will bring us in 2018, which will definitely be a fascinating year for New York rap.

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