The Rap-Up: Week of October 16, 2023

For the latest edition of The Rap-Up, Donald Morrison dives into BLP KOSHER's staying power backed by a recent performance at Irving Plaza in NY, plus new tracks from Veeze, Nef The Pharaoh, Valee...
By    October 16, 2023

Image via BLP KOSHER/Instagram

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Donald Morrison is going to tell his kids that the latest Cash Kidd x Bfb Da Packman track is Biggie and Tupac.

BLP KOSHER – Concert Review

There’s been a surprising staying power to BLP Kosher, the skateboarder-turned-rapper from Broward County, Florida who first went viral on TikTok in 2022 for being a jewish kid with wicks who can rap. He’s since racked up an astonishing 100 million streams, filmed a hit Cole Bennett-produced video with Baby Tron and released a solid debut tape with a DJ Premier feature. He has taken the punched-in flow popularized by Detroit rappers and made it accessible to a wider audience of white kids and children of the internet.

BLP Kosher is currently headlining his first national tour and I attended his sold out show at Irving Plaza in Manhattan on October 12, where I was met with a young crowd and an undeniable energy to turn up despite an endlessly nightmarish news cycle.

“I feel bad even turning up and getting lit right now and stuff, you feel me?” BLP Kosher said. “Because I love everybody and all people. I love everybody, I love all people, I love Palestinians, I love Jews and one day there will be peace in the Middle East.”

I went to BLP that night with a Jewish friend of mine. His dad texted him earlier pondering if it was safe going to see a Jewish rapper on the night before the Day of Jihad in the midst of a war in Israel. Others I spoke to at the concert also wondered if “something would happen.” There were uniformed police officers outside the venue, which I thought was a little strange until my friend told me the NYPD put all officers in uniform ahead of the Day of Jihad. But aside from the aforementioned brief dialogue in between songs, the conflict in Gaza wasn’t really discussed at all by the artists and the energy in the venue among the concertgoers was positive and unworried.

Trapland Pat opened the show with an incredible set that had half the crowd in mosh pits for the majority of the performance. Trapland is clearly the more adept performer of the two and could have easily been headlining the tour with BLP opening for him. He spent a good portion of his time rapping off-stage into fans’ cell phones. His signature Bonks, a hairstyle popular in South Florida’s massive Haitian community, make him appear cartoonish and larger-than-life. He appears from afar to be one serious hit away from the type of life-changing stardom afforded to BLP in such a short amount of time.

That’s not to say BLP isn’t worthy of his buzz. The 23-year-old rapper has mastered a type of rapping that consists of an onslaught of witty punchlines and reference-heavy musings. He’s also the real deal on a character level, having said in interviews that he’s still very much connected to his faith and that it’s a huge part of his life beyond just his image. He has a decent ear for the type of dark beats that mix the Detroit sound with the grittier side of Florida, giving his own spin over piano-laden production stuffed with some of the heaviest bass in rap music.

BLP opened with “The Nac 2,” a single from last year hard enough to help catapult him into my YouTube algorithm and onto numerous Spotify playlists. The crowd was mostly young people with a few exceptions. A healthy-sized mosh pit formed in the back of the venue and remained for the entirety of the show. After “The Nac 2,” I saw an older man with a yarmulke exit the mosh pit glistening in sweat, before dapping up a younger, shirtless man with a lime green shiesty who he’d been moshing with. Next, BLP slid into his single “2000’s Baby,” which prompted him to ask the crowd if there were any 2000s babies in attendance. The crowd went crazy and I’ve never felt older in my life.

The highlight of the night came with the three-punch knockout of “Jew on the Canoe”, “Mazeltron”, and “Special K.” Listening to these three songs in a row cemented my belief that BLP Kosher is here to stay, like it or not. He’s possessed with a nimble flow and a dedication to standing out among the overly-crowded rap scene by leaning into the parts of himself that are unique as opposed to copying other rappers’ formula for overnight success. His fans weren’t here just to moshpit, they were there to see Kosher in all his wicked-up glory and the moshing was an added bonus. I don’t see BLP’s star dimming anytime soon.

Veeze – “Get Lucki”

Veeze is your favorite rapper’s favorite rapper. There’s something about his one-liners and non sequiturs that manage to burrow deep into my psyche and stay stuck there for days. I’ve had “pull up with that Mickey Mouse clip, this ain’t Disney,” stuck in my head for weeks, with no sign of abatement.

This week, the Detroit-rapper released five new songs on the deluxe drop of this years best album, Ganger, Veeze’s sprawling, long-awaited debut that blew past the lofty expectations placed on it by fans who’d been waiting the better part of three years for it. “Get Lucki” is early proof that this deluxe drop is more than just an industry ploy to boost streaming numbers. The production matches Veeze’s lackadaisical flow in a way that reminds of the synergy between The Alchemist and Prodigy on old Mobb Deep records. We’re seeing history in the making.

Nef The Pharaoh – “Furley Goat” (feat. LaRussell)

Nef The Pharaoh is the only rapper from The Bay Area since Mac Dre to really nail down the type of conversational, pimp-like flow that made the original Furly Ghost so immediately likable. There’s a sort of effortless gift of gab on display when Nef says “If you think you found a sucker and a chain, I big doubt it,” dissuading The Bay Area’s now-infamous scourge of stick-up kids and car thieves from trying him.

The beat so captures Mac Dre’s early eccentricity and island-vibes that I can almost picture him giggin’ and turning up to this song in 2023. The video shows Nef and LaRussell, who raps better than I ever imagined he could, doing a remake of the stoner, high school comedy, How High?, with Nef reprising the role of Redman and LaRussell playing Method Man. It’s a fun video that matches the irreverence of the song, which deserves to break out of the regional limits placed on a majority of Bay Area rappers.

Valee x MVW – “Créme De La Créme” (feat. Pink Siifu)

Valee has always felt like the Top Shelf of rap music. His songs have a fine-wine quality, somehow getting better and bolder with age. If aliens descended onto planet earth and wanted to learn about our way of life and what can be possible in terms of music and auditory pleasure, I might show them Valee.

So it makes sense his latest single with fellow extra-terrestrial rapper Pink Siifu is titled “Creme De La Créme,” another exercise for Valee to show off his never-ending rolodex of inventive sayings and clever wordplay. “Walk around like a lick, no bling, old school like a fossil, pristine,” he says. Over a beat from MVW, Pink Siifu easily matches Valee’s labyrinth-like flow, injecting quick-pace energy to an otherwise somber and brooding track.

Emptying the Chamber

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