Jay Critch – “Hustler Muzik” [prod. A Lau]
Even though the sample-heavy drill era has started to get a bit stale over the past year, A Lau has consistently been a step ahead in keeping it fresh. His sampled beats never lean into novelty for the sake of novelty like much of NY drill, and his flips always have an extra flair that separates them from the pack. On this Hustler Music flip with Jay Critch from some months ago, they keep the spirit of the original alive with Jay interpolating the og melodies and rapping about getting money with martians, the memories of stealing out of department stores, the lengths he and his boys go to to get ahead, and how much stays on his mind and plate as he moves through the world trying to make something better for himself. It plays that careful balancing act between staying true to such a classic while also adding something of actual value that’s not just playing on the nostalgia factor.
Pollito Trapper – “TRAKE”
This beat is catchy as fuck – I can’t get the melody of those bells out of my head. And Dominican by way of New Jersey artist Pollito Trapper has such confident flows over it. His swag screams at you through the screen with the two-tone hair talking about cooking up en la cocina while chilling behind a deli counter. I bet he makes a mean chopped cheese.
Navy Blue – “Timberwolves”
This song feels like it freezes time – the video breaks you in and out of frame with stop motion-like techniques that make Navy Blue’s daily life a series of still-life paintings. And the short runtime at less than 90 seconds means the song runs out as quickly as it runs in. The ruminating beat presses pause, and lets Navy Blue reflect on his grandmother’s quips, and other short moments that might pass by if you don’t freeze them for a beat to pay attention.
Drego – “On The Bool Side”
Off Drego’s incredible new album, “The Red Print,” On the Bool Side finds the Detroit rapper at the height of his powers, flexing his exasperated “aah” flows to emphasize every bar. Drego does such a great job of staying in the pocket, and he’s never slamming you over the head with his lyrics – it’s more of a gentle slice, as he raps fluidly with jam-packed lines like “She a proper girl she left said til we meet again,” or comparing himself to a teacher the way he hands out work.
Veeze – “Living Goat”
Veeze has the most relaxed flows of any rapper working right now, and his beat selection is always on point. On Living Goat, which may be a leak (I don’t even know with him anymore, nothing is really ever dropped on his official channels), Veeze slithers through the crevices in the Ricky Desktop beat which explores and lives on its own outer edges, rapping for less than a minute while comparing his exploits with women to fundamental basketball plays and his strength to a Viking.
Emptying the Chamber:
DaeMoney x Veeze x Lucki – GTA – Lucki putting his foot on the gas always makes for some magic, even if it’s just for a short verse to close out this smooth track
21 Savage – No Debate / Big Smoke – “Got some people who depend on me that’s why I bulletproof the caddy”
Babyface Ray x YN Jay – Rich Ugly MFS – I love YN Jay playing the guitar to a song with no guitar on it