Chris Daly always wanted to be a gangster.
Remember that part of Goodfellas where Pesci, De Niro, and Liotta pummel that one dude before throwing him into the trunk, realize he’s still alive, pound on him some more, stop by Pesci’s Ma’s house for a quick breakfast and to borrow a knife to finish the job before burying him in the middle of nowhere (and then later unburying the decaying corpse)? You know, the one that has the iconic “Paw-Foot-Hoof” scene. For those of you not well versed in Martin Scorsese’s perverse love letter to the mobster, Henry Hill, you should know the incident is taken from Hill’s book, Wiseguys, and relates his version of the killing of William Bentvena, AKA, Billy Batts. It’s arguably one of the greatest mafia movies of all times, and that’s one of its most memorable scenes which continues to impact innumerable artists to this day. Don’t believe me? Look no further than the latest from Wrecking Crew members’ Curly Castro and Zilla Rocca’s new video, “Billy Batts,” from their recently released Grift Company EP, which POW is premiering just below this very word.
You’ve got to give it to the Philadelphia’s hardest working hustlers—even when they’re not all in the studio together, they’re seldom sitting on their haunches. Following a kaleidoscopic version of the “Wu-Tang Path to Recording Success” (I.E., have the main group, have solo projects, and have side team-ups wherever possible; see also, “How Most Comic Books Operate.”), the Wrecking Crew breaks down into a smaller camp here. This time around, while the presence of PremRock and Small Professor always are missed, Zilla and Castro keep the same low key manic energy intact, like the minutes leading up to a thunderstorm, when the temperature drops and you know shit’s about to get real.
Directed by Bob Sweeney, the video is a series of stark, sometimes filtered, close-ups of the dangerous duo, standing in the corner of a gritty apartment dropping knowledge for those looking to learn. Castro hits the ground running, with a foodie intro reminiscent of Action Bronson (who else would call out egg whites, vodka, and lobster in the opening verse?) before regaling listeners with his take on what’s popping on the corner. Zilla continues upping his lyrical game, dropping Ricochet Rabbit and “Hong Kong Phooey” references like it ain’t no thing. Once he gets to “pulling strings like Jim Henson,” the aural kids show nerdgasm is complete.
Don’t be a clown. I’m not here to fucking amuse you. Go watch, listen, learn, and enjoy.