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Video/Images by Sean Stout & Graham

Ratking is ready for their second act. The group, first formed in 2011, was quickly hailed as the savior of New York hip-hop. Perhaps deservedly so—Ratking embodied a new wave of experimentation and brash delivery that seemed to be a breath of fresh air the city needed.

But to stop there would be doing Ratking a grave injustice—sure, the three members all hail from NYC, but they have more in common with grime these days than Rakim or Jay Z. Their latest album, the free BitTorrent release 700 Fill, was a miasma of influences bound together by the sheer energy that emanated from Sporting Life’s production, Hak’s sneering delivery, and Wiki’s cracked smile.

Four months later, the future is bearing down fast and the next step (solo projects) are in the works. When we met up with Wiki and Sporting Life (Hak, the third, either had strep throat or got bit by a dog between the legs, depending on who you believe), they were already knee-deep in their respective follow-ups to 700 Fill—Wiki had just returned from London, where he had spent time with Skepta and JME, and Sporting Life was about to hit the studio with another grime sensation, Novelist.

They assured us, however, that Ratking is alive and well. That much was apparent when the two reunited on a SoHo rooftop, all smiles and laughs while they “modeled” new merch and prepared for an upcoming show. From there, we headed to Chinatown and Wiki’s crash pad. Whatever the future may hold, Ratking is having a moment right here in the present. More importantly, however, they’re living in it.

Watch the video above and catch Ratking (for free!) at East River Park on August 5.