On most bios we get artists will list where they are from so we can write “LA-based” or “London artists,” but often times they don’t reflect the city that they are actually from or in. B-Roc and J Patt or The Knocks are about as New York as it comes in dance music. The group has released their second artist album New York Narcotic today, which comes with features from Big Boi, Method Man, Foster The People and Sofi Tukker.
Unlike their last album, 55, this one had a proper rollout. 55 felt a little thrown together to create an album with half of the songs already released in the year leading up to the record. It sounded a little disjointed as a result.
New York Narcotic finds them more focused on writing a more complete thought as an album. They took time off from touring and were able to work on loads of songs at once. They could spend time at writing camps in the jungle, jet back and forth between LA and New York to hang with writers and other artists to really immerse themselves in the process.
The album comes out with a bang in the top half. In the first four songs, the tribute to 2000s rap with their amazing album cover comes full circle with Method Man’s feature on “Goodbyes” and then Big Boi ripping up a verse on “Big Bills.” J Patt also shows off his chops behind the mic. J Patt raps for the party you heard about or saw on social media the next day that was low-key lit and you wake up regretting missing because you were catching up on a show and sleeping.
For some groups on majors that are able to get big features, they sometimes take a back seat to that bigger artist. The Knocks remain the ones in the driver seat and mold the artist into their vision, still keeping things funky on “Goodbyes” and “Big Bills,” but allowing the rappers space to work.
Though the album cover will clearly make you think about some early 2000s rap when Dipset were the kings of the city, the duo remain true to their indie-dance sound. On this record they bring in more hip-hop rhythms, but it still remains true to what the discography has been so far. Their biggest and most pushed single thus far “Ride Or Die” anchors the middle of the record before they get into four solo tracks, which by the end of them can feel a little similar.
The record ends a little dancier as we rise for the “Wizard Of Bushwick” (probably some wild looking white dude who actually wears a wizard costume), their soothing and deep “Don’t Talk About Love” and the more downtempo album closer “Fung Wah Bus” with Sleigh Bells' Alexis Krauss.
The Knocks know how to write infectious indie-dance songs and they have put together heaps of that on this record. It is a smooth ride from start to finish, with the top being a bit more energetic and the second half for the fans who have been there since the beginning. If you were wondering how they sound live, hearing some of these records yesterday on their bus, they will bang just as hard live. Stream the album below and get it wherever you do that.