New York Times pop critic Jon Caramanica is known for forays into covering rap music for the Times—after all, he came up writing for magazines like XXL, was music editor at Vibe, and has long been a respected voice within hip-hop. Recently, he appeared on the New York Times Popcast as a champion of Young Thug

Nonetheless, it was a little surprising to discover that Jon was putting his full support behind the New York rapper Shirt in an article for the Times. "I took the assignment at the urge of a legend," begins the uncharacteristic prose.

"I couldn't pin down what kind of guy this was. A rapper in the New York mold no doubt, and often an impressive one. But he had this new style. Or rather a style I hadn't quite seen come through in a rapper yet."

What is this elusive style? Quoth "Caramanica": 

"'Automatic,' the galvanizing video single he released in late April, elevated shirt from a curiosity to a force. Over creeping, languorous soul, produced by Supreme Breed, he details the steps that are leading him from the guy you might click a couple of times on a blog, to possibly the idiosyncratic savior of New York rap classicism."

"Automatic," much like Shirt's Twitter handle, took concerted effort to find online, due to being completely search engine-unfriendly. (Apparently, we've posted it previously.) Shirt's new album called—I shirt you not—Rap is coming out on Monday.

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