Swad - Boyz a Liar / Telling Everybody

For most of its existence, Hot 97's Summer Jam has been held in New Jersey. It's like Jets and Giants games in that way—ostensibly for New Yorkers but really only those who will make the trek to a neighboring state. In 2023, the rap music industry's major public-facing annual trade show returns to New York for the first time in 20 years. But it won't be held in New York City. Instead, the UBS Arena in Elmont will play host to the event. Will any of the performers taking the stage June 4 realize let alone acknowledge they're in Nassau not Queens County? Who knows? But you can bet that the show's promoters know it, and let it ride that there's some corporate tax benefit at the heart of this relocation maneuver. Box that like the Belmont Stakes. Hopefully, the audience will know where they're at, too, and in this recognize that Long Island is as inextricably linked to hip-hop's past, present, and future as any of the five boroughs. Like I was saying to one of my favorite musicians earlier tonight, there's the politic and then there's the emotion. Beyonce and Ice Spice offer plenty to consider in terms of both interpretations. And Swad's remixes of their recent hits relish in the interconnectedness of the two.


MeccaGodZilla - "Tread" ft. thekeenone & Eric Bobo

MeccaGodZilla was a flagship producer for billy woods' Backwoodz Studioz, Eric Bobo was a percussionist on Ill Communication, and thekeenone was the first person to express to me the value of streaming platforms for sharing one's music. This was in the days of divshare, which still exists somehow—wild. All of these artists are also much more than these minor credits. And in 2008 they coalesced for a Bobo song soon to appear on MeccaGodZilla's compilation, Hidden Jewels of Mecca.

Thekeenone obliterates everything here, on some BFG-9000 clear the room, take no prisoners shit. 

WilliefromtheDrive - Lose Until You Win

Job hunt, love life, house hunt, channel surfing, crate digging, competitive sport, poker, trading stock, fantasy sport, acting, songwriting, sentience, conception, evolution, the big bang—there are exceptions, of course, but generally it's all Lose Until You Win. Know the ledge and still jump like Geronimo on some "Ordo Abchao." The Myth of Sisyphus is about becoming the most superhumanly diesel version of yourself, like Pumping Iron.

Being an 80-year-old man, I've taken some lumps in my day, but it's not how many times you get knocked down—it's cushioning the ground beneath you such that getting knocked down becomes unbothersome, pleasant even. Keeping with that thread, WilliefromtheDrive would be the second artist posted here who I first heard about via an aforementioned PDF that hipped me to the fact Hempstead has a thriving drill scene. Lose Until You Win dropped in January, making it a semi-ancient artifact of said scene, but like I said, I'm 80, so times fly.


Kush Blank - Walking LLC

The farther east, the fewer the sidewalks, the closer the sands, real ones or deposits become real, oceanic countersprawl, low-tide phonk, high-tide subterranea. No waterworks, the waters rise, reclaiming mansions and making beachfronts of bungalows. Pocketbooks overflow, pharmacological and/or horticultural. SpongeBob: the whole operation's underwater. The fisherman comes back for revenge, visiting Jason Vorhees hockey penalties on retro-dandy price gougers, high sticking, slashing. New Zealand harbor mates communicate via whale calls and dolphin carrier bottle messages. "I get my powers from the water."


K.Sole - Purple N Passion

When purple haze dropped in New York, it so impressed, overnight every "kind" strain was branded "haze." This was a time of lower THC counts and less variety. Haze delivered an entirely different experience, so desirable it shifted consumer expectations. Nowadays (big lawn maintenance vibes), there are no fewer than 615 cataloged hazes, and Cam'ron's Purple Haze is to millennial rap fans what Hendrix's "Purple Haze" was to boomer rock fans. Purple flower put a generation through college, so don't talk to me about purple drink. K.Sole's Purple N Passion [PNP] dropped within the first few weeks of another big P, like only fogs can overshadow clouds.