Remember when Trinidad James took shots at New York City hip hop, or lack thereof? The “All Gold Everything” rapper said the South runs our shit up here. As far as radio and club hits, he’s not that far off, but there are still dudes putting on for their city everyday. Some underground emcees, as well as larger than life ones, have been steady grinding and created amazing projects that weren’t on anyone’s end of year list. We can’t let these masterpieces go unnoticed so we highlighted 5 tapes that are a must download before the ball drops.
5. ABGOHARD Zubat
ABGOHARD is able to balance the dirty New York sound while keeping it buttery for the ladies. Tracks like “Throw It” are suggestive, but still G. Then “Elevens” and “Garden Full” are going to hit the Wu-heads out there. Overall this tape is really for the ladies. What else would you expect from a dude who calls himself Yung Purple Dick?
4. Troy Ave New York City: The Album
I’m shocked this wasn’t on anyone’s end of year list considering Troy’s authentic New York sound. Similar to 50 pre Before I Self Destruct, Troy Ave’s lyrics depict a grimey, realisitc New York that you probably aren’t familiar with unless you grew up on the corner. I don’t understand everything dude says, on the song “New York City” he calls Kendrick Lamar a weirdo rapper, but it is good to know this type of shit is still out there. Anyone who misses the Jada, 50 Cent, Fat Joe era this is a tape for you.
3. Hefna Gwap EPA
Hefna Gwap is from East Palo Alto but moved to New York City a little over a year ago. After connecting with the dudes at Smokers Club, putting out his first full legnth project, and going on tour with Ab-Soul, he is practically a NY vet. His latest project EPA is nothing short of spectacular. The mixture of Bay Area urbanity and the New New York cockiness makes you a fan immediately. Tracks like “666 Cell Phones” give you an insight into his hustle while “Drug Problems” is a real portrayal of drug addiction in the family. It’s good to know some rappers were keeping it real in 2013.
2. Aaron Cohen Potential Fans
Aaron Cohen may be one of the most overlooked dudes on this list. His growth from the 2012 tape Murk to this years’ Potential Fans is insane. His international presence (he recently did a show in Paris) is proof of his ascension in the game. The track “Why You Mad For” with Grande Marshall is a standout and on “My Mother & My Music” Aaron demonstrates he’s not to be messed with on the mic. Get familiar to homeboy quickly.
1. Cam’ron Ghetto Heaven Vol 1
This was my favorite tape/album/whatever the fuck we call it this year. Better than Yeezus, Nothing Was The Same, YRN, better than everything. Cam is the king of New York in my opinion. Yeah he isn’t underground by any means but this tape largely came and went without much attention paid. Not only is it the first project to speak on the important matter of Instagram catfishing but Cam’ron also manages to effectively use Jesse Jackson’s ‘Keep Hope Alive’ slogan to aid a female who’s going to miss his companionship when he departs. This tape is truly the best representation of modern art in 2013. ARTRAP if you will.