Harley Geffner is like Ric Flair with the robes.
Pop Smoke – Meet the Woo
“Meet the Woo” and “Welcome to the Party” are the two most remixed and interpolated songs of the summer per my YouTube subs, so Pop Smoke’s debut album probably put some stress on YouTube’s city servers this weekend. It’s not really getting the Twitter shine, having been released on a crowded Friday, but there’ll be quite a few aggressive lane swerves to this under the street lights of Linden Boulevard. Pop Smoke’s guttural and threatening growls are served up with shiny Katana blades slicing through the signature elastic bass Brooklyn shares with the UK drill scene. It’s a scary sight.
On Better Have a Gun, he gives away a little game as he discusses what he believes is the key to the streets, which is, well, you better have your gun. If you talk down on his name, step on his Diors, laugh at his pain, or come to the floor seats, among an assortment of other activities — you better have it on you. It’ll make you afraid to even be near him, for even the tiniest slip could be a fatal mistake. And it sounds like he means it when he says things like “I ain’t with the bitching and snitching, I ain’t with the politicking / rather sit up in a jail, or swim with the fishes.” Not the type of dude you want to test. At only 20 years old, he commands this air of divine respect, both from the seemingly very real threats and the voice that sounds like it’s been dragged through the depths of hell and come out intact.
Key Glock & Young Dolph – “Blac Loccs”
Fellow POW writer Will Hagle was right when, while waiting for his steak in Dolph’s mansion, he said that if you liked Dolph or Glock previous to their new Dum & Dummer collaborative album, then you’ll certainly like the tape. Driven by the blatant ignorance of smashing luxury car windows, Dolph’s yeah YEAHs and Glock’s UH HUHs, the tape is an hour of trunk rattling concentrated Memphis force. It’ll get repetitive all the way through, but it’s a pluck your few songs and they’ll definitely hit on that speeding playlist type of tape.
Flo Milli – “Beef FloMix”
I’m not sure how many of the Tik Tok kids who blew this song up know the pain that they’re inflicting on the top posters over at r/hiphopheads by virtue of most not knowing the beat is from Carti’s ethereal days. The redditors fondly remember the intoxicating combo of Mountain Dew, Fifa Ultimate team and Ethereal beats distorting their reality, wishing the Tik Tokers could feel that same fuzzy warmth. They all comment that this remix is ass. Alabama’s Flo Milli did the Beef beat dirty though and spawned many a viral dance video to her opening “I like cash and my hair to my ass, do the dash, can you make it go fast?” On top of the dance, the TikTok compilations are full of the teens painting beautiful sunsets on their jeans to the song. I don’t get it either, but it’s had me dying since another esteemed POW writer, Brandon Callender, pointed it out to me earlier this week. The song is a great bad bitch confidence jam and I’m glad it got a bubblegum video to match the energy.
Chief Keef – The Leek Vol. 8
This one brings me back. Keef dropped the eighth volume of his The Leek series, which is just a re-release of his old music, mastered and on streaming. But if you weren’t one to keep up with every Keef loosie and DP beats tape from 2014-15, then there’s a good chance there’s some new Keef on here for you. It’s all classic-sounding Sosa with scootatoo dootatoos and gang gang gang, bang bang bang ad-libs whooshing through your subconscious. The violent GGP organs and laser synths that spawned a whole generation of crazy production are abundant. This is a master in his prime, his guns getting deported and running through absurd anecdotes, like on True when he says:
“I’m with Obama up in D.C.
Tryna find some bitches that’s gon’ eat, eat
He say when Michelle trippin’, he call Chief Keef”
OMB Jay Dee & Fivio Foreign & Gwoppy Sir Piff & Jayy Savv – “2’sday”
As New York City continues to flood NYPD coffers with big money for aggressive policing tactics, anti-violence groups that treat the epidemic with a more street-level approach are starved for public funding. I bring this up because Brownsville, a hotbed for much of the excellent drill rap coming out of Brooklyn right now, was yet again subject to tragedy this weekend. Two still-unidentified gunmen open fired on an annual neighborhood block party called “Old Timer’s Day” that has run since the 60’s without violent incident. One dead and 11 injured. Though shooting numbers are down in Brownsville this year, continuing a promising pattern, moments like these are here to remind us that we have far from solved the problem of violence plaguing our communities.
There are organizations working to identify kids who are at-risk for joining street gangs and actively work to keep them out of it, like Save Our Streets, operating out of Crown Heights, and other ones that operate to de-escalate beef they spot on social. These are the organizations in need of our public dollars to stop the violence and redirect youth in to more productive activities, not the NYPD gang that intentionally provokes beef, like in a video that circulated last week of officers playing a song out of their cruiser speaker called “Folks in the trunk” in a neighborhood full of Folks-affiliated people.
There is so much promise in the music coming out of Brooklyn right now, and it’s possible that Pop Smoke is finally going to be the one to break through to the masses and let them know about the rap Renaissance currently happening in the borough. If he does, the Brownsville and East New York dudes like Jay Dee and Fivio Foreign won’t be far behind. We just have to hope they are all able to keep their heads above the police dragnet trying to ensnare everyone making music out of the city.
Countless regional rap scenes, including this very one (Free Bobby), have been brought down by police conspiracies that intentionally escalate conflict, then use immoral walk-arounds of the law to indict citizens, like ones Jeff outlined from the Drakeo trial in which they plant ex-gang member “informants” in holding cells to illicit false confessions without the protection of a lawyer.
As for the music, this song is less drill and closer to the spectrum of pain-seared music coming out of Florida and Louisiana. They’re just showing off the versatility here, and Fivio’s voice, like Pop Smoke’s, sounds like he just ingested a truck load of gravel.
Shoreline Mafia & BandGang Paid Will – “Free Drakeo, Free Greedo”
Speaking of the Drakeo trial, we’re all glad to see the most serious charges against him dropped, but it’s still free him, free Ralfy, free Greedo, and free every rapper caught up in police schemes that only serve to exacerbate the root causes of violence rather than treat the problems from the source. A small battle has been won with the help of excellent courtroom reporting that we desperately need more of, but the war will wage on until we root out the corrosive culture maligning PDs across America who stalk neighborhoods our governments haven’t properly served. This beat is almost as sinister as those police schemes and that tomb of a courthouse where the Stinc Team trials have been held.