Yesterday, New York alt rap group Ratking released their debut album, So It Goes. For rap purists, the trio’s ability to make music—even slightly—close to the boom-bap, acid-jazz aesthetic of New York’s past will be enough to hold them until the next golden era-obsessed teen pops up on SoundCloud. But what makes Ratking’s work interesting beyond its ability to function as a quasi-traditionalist output, are the other styles the group’s beatmaker, Sporting Life, puts together to conjure up a refreshingly weird take on hip-hop.
So It Goes moves from saxophone-infused tracks like “Snow Beach” where frontman Wiki aggressively touches on his disgust with the accelerated changes to the New York he grew up in. They recruit King Krule to add to the city-kid perspective on “So Sick Stories” and they make an anti-cop track with “Remove Ya” which samples Sanchez’s “One In A Million,” just as Juelz Santana did for “Dipset Anthem”. What makes Ratking so appealing is their ability to incorporate their equal appreciation for jazz, punk rock and heavy drums, chewing it up and spitting it out as a unique product. And after you get done absorbing, So It Goes, here are a few more artists who are doing interesting things in rap that you should listen to including Cities Aviv, B L A C K I E, and more.
Lawrence Burney is a writer living in Baltimore who makes a bi-monthly zine called "True Laurels." Follow him on Twitter @TrueLaurels.