My homey sent me this remix of a new Gil Scott-Heron track featuring NaSir Jones. The song is called ‘New York Is Killing Me’. The beat is reminiscent of the handclaps that would accompany slavespeak. NaS’ verses diagram the sights, sounds and even the smells of the New York City. Have a listen to this track if you haven’t already…
Reality rap doesn’t have to be ultra-nihilistic like a Mobb Deep does nor does it make sense to be an unending champagne toast either. Reality is the struggle to keep your family fed, your bills paid and your art beautiful. I think NaS finds that vein of thought in his verses. There are some other rappers that could also describe the highs and lows of real life in the rotten apple if you gave them a chance.
Kool G Rap – Kool G Rap was one of the first poets to highlight the other side of the street game in the city where everything that glitters isn’t gold.
“In the streets of new york
Dope fiends are leaning for morphine
The TV screen followed the homicide scenes
You live here, you’re taking a chance
So I look and take one glance, there’s a man inside an ambulance”
Joell Ortiz – No rapper has made his childhood more bare than this rapper. He has spoken about growing up with a mother who was addicted to drugs. How real is that? Joell raps like he is one check away from losing it all.
“So what my cable box in the hood is still hot
And my whole fam be silent everytime they knock
So what I spent a couple nights in the bookings
I ain’t my fault I’m on that bullshit, I’m from Brooklyn”
Sean Price – While other rappers were talking about their multi-million dollar jewelry Sean Price was speaking on being the ‘brokest rapper’ you know. Sean P would be a masterful fit on this Gil Scott-Heron track because he rides the line of rap madness like no one else can.
“Listen, liquor store, let me get a fifth
Weed spots, let me get a spliff
Mad as hell, plus I’m frustrated
Last album came out, you motherfucks hate it
Rock solo, Ruck broke
Here’s a hundred dollars, what a fucking joke
Eviction notice, yo, I gotta go
Album been out two months, ain’t did a fucking show
Ruckus, you ruined, I put the barrel to my dome”
Inspectah Deck – The Rebel INS verse on C.R.E.A.M. is high level poetry. This rivals Melle Mel’s verse from ‘The Message’ in my opinion. it’s that deep, and still its steadily reaffirming life and why we do what we do to survive.
“It’s been 22 long hard years and still strugglin
Survival got me buggin, but I’m alive on arrival
I peep out the shape of the streets
And stay awake to the ways of the world cause shit is deep
A man with a dream with plans to make C.R.E.A.M.
Which failed; I went to jail at the age of 15
A young buck sellin drugs and such who never had much
Trying to get a clutch at what I could not touch
The court played me short, now I face incarceration
Pacin’, going up state’s my destination
Handcuffed in back of a bus, 40 of us
Life as a shorty shouldn’t be so rough
But as the world turns I learned life is Hell
Living in the world, no different from a cell
Everyday I escape from Jakes givin chase, sellin base
Smokin bones in the staircase
Though I don’t know why I chose to smoke sess
I guess that’s the time when I’m not depressed
But I’m still depressed, and I ask what’s it worth?
Ready to give up so I seek the Old Earth
Who explained working hard may help you maintain
to learn to overcome the heartaches and pain
We got stickup kids, corrupt cops, and crack rocks
and stray shots, all on the block that stays hot
Leave it up to me while I be living proof
To kick the truth to the young black youth
But shorty’s running wild, smokin sess, drinkin beer
And ain’t trying to hear what I’m kickin in his ear
Neglected for now, but yo, it gots to be accepted
That what? That life is hectic”
Any of these artists I mentioned would adequately complement Gil Scott-Heron and return that element of real talk back into rap. Who else do y’all think should jump on this remix?