Bryant Dope - QB Video

Queens rapper Bryant Dope is about to drop his New New York mixtape via Young One Records later this year and here’s a taste of what’s to come with his Max Goodrich-directed, day-in-the-life video for “QB.” Of the clip for the Hannibal King-produced cut, Dope says, “[it] follows my everyday life from working at Belief, a local skateshop in Queens to hitting the Converse Rubber Tracks studio in Brooklyn, [as well as] to a show I had at the Mercury Lounge earlier this year. [It's] a visual depection of the life of a young rapper in New York trying to make a name for himself.” Dope’s contemporaries like Worlds Fair, Heems (formerly of Das Racist), and Mr. MNF eXquire are carving out a new space for the New York rap underground. Their music is advancing the narrative and putting a new spin on the meaty history that laid the tracks for them growing up. With eX, you see Biggie’s penchant for vocabulary-laden, storytelling mouthfuls, but beat choices that lean toward the lugubrious side of modern rap. Nary a Worlds Fair track goes by without a nod to Queens or a hometown sports reference — seriously, if they don’t drop the “What Up Gangsta?”-interpolating “96 Knicks” soon I’m going to have an aneurysm — and both Heems and partner-in-crime producer Mike Finito have catapulted El-P ethos into a hypergeeky territory. It’s no wonder they’re all friends.

Still, there’s a cavalcade of arguments to be made about whether New York is ostensibly back on the rap map after being supplanted by the rest of the country. Are A$AP Rocky and French Montana hamfisting the charge? Or does the gurgling underground — of which I will contentiously say certain corners were illuminated by the indie popularity of Das Racist (whether they or Killer Mike gave spotlight to El for a new group of listeners is a fun conversation to have because everyone’s a winner) — mean more to the movement than the dudes on the majors? Maybe New York will never claim its old prominence. As a native, I’m not entirely bothered because if we’re considering the Internet a region, then my other hometown has a lot of Ws under it belt. I’m just glad that any given night of the week, I can go out to one of the many venues in town and see guys like Bryant Dope or Le1f rep their city. Check out “QB” below.

Comments (1)
  1. In my opinion, a lot of these artists are hitting a wall built by a combination of the breadth of the genre and their inability to expand upon its well-worn subject matter in a way that makes what they have to say compelling across an entire project, as opposed to just a song or two. Larger question, of course, is whether or not that matters in an era dominated by singles and loosies.

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