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RU - How Droog, Rast and two DJs from Nottingham brought NY back

It should be understood at this point that the term “bring New York back” has really just become a term to describe new rap that makes the hairs on the back of your neck stand up. Some examples of this include the first time hearing Roc Marciano’s Marcberg and Boldy James’ My First Chemistry Set LPs, and my debut encounters with Ka’s ‘Grief Pedigree’, Big Twin’s ‘Wanna Be Down’ and P Brother’s ‘Blam Blam For Nottingham’ single with Boss Money Gangsters. Basically, that scrunch-face type material that makes you want to slap your grandmother just for walking too slowly to the kitchen to fetch your breakfast. (Perhaps I’ve revealed too much.)

The latest characters to achieve this all-too-rare feat just happens to include the following: that guy who some folks believed was a top-secret Nas vanity project, but in actual fact was really just a guy with a great, Nasir-like vocal intonation who raps rather well; bombing and rhymin’ scallywag Rast from the RFC crew; and the mighty P Brothers, representing Nottingham, UK. While both Droog and Rast have been releasing some enjoyable tracks over the past couple of months, ‘No Message’ is the song that allows them to really step-up to the plate and put it down.

DJ Ivory and Paul S – infamous as the P Brothers for their painstakingly crafted, minimalist productions that emphasise loud drums and and rich snippets of atmospherics – were showcasing the formidable solo talents of Roc Marciano back in 2008 on The Gas, and certainly don’t tolerate anything less than excellence in the vocal booth. They provided a simmering base of percussion, strings and choral wailings that could easily be heralding a new dawn in this here rap shit. For disciples of non-progressive, anti-social hip-hop such as myself and the ever-expanding army of the Conservative Rap Coalition faithful, moments like this are a welcome reminder that no matter how grim things might look in terms in terms of new music, there is always someone ready to step out of the shadows and apply a defibrillator to the rotting corpse of rap.

Understand, it’s not about trying to recreate old ’90s Mobb Deep and Mos Def songs like the rest of these nitwits are scrambling to do in between modelling shoots. This is music from four individuals who have no choice but to make rap designed to be played on your Walkman while walking back from the train station at 3.00 am with liquor and weed on your breath. You don’t choose this rap life; it chooses you. If we can get an entire album from this quartet at some point in the next twelve months, then all we be right again in The Rap World (© Pete Rock and Large Professor), at least for a time. As Ice Cube would often remind is, “It ain’t over, motherfuckers!”

Keep up with Robbie’s weekly ‘No Country for Old (Rap) Men’ here.