Today is a big day for New York rap. Beast Coast has released their long awaited debut album Escape From New York. The largest collective of New York rappers, taking three members of Flatbush Zombies, all two members of The Underachievers, and Pro Era’s Joey Bada$$, Kirk Knight, Nyck Caution, CJ Fly, and Powers Pleasant and putting them into one rap supergroup. They have done various collaborations together in the past individually or as group works, but we haven’t had a full album from all of them together yet.
The album can be a bit disorienting with all of these different rappers coming out at you. It would be advised to get a feel for each of the individual groups before diving head first into this project. If you have favorite verses or hooks, working out who is who would be tough.
That being said, the different rappers do provide a different sonic element to the album. If you never get tired of one guy; the next one will be up very shortly. You don’t get listening fatigue from one artist to the next as they switch up hooks and short verses and don’t all go in on every song.
With a group this big, there may be some issues with chemistry, but that is not the case. They seem to like rapping alongside each other and have fun doing it. This feels like a celebration of rap’s future, while still holding onto the legacy of New York rap.
The album isn’t all of the rappers just trying to one up each other over classic sounding beats. There is a smooth, classic R&B-sounding cut in “Far Away" built around a slowly strummed guitar and a smooth beat. The next record is a bit odd as they adopt some patois and give love to Jamaica, but it doesn’t always sound right. “Snow In The Stadium” could have some summer appeal with its reggae hip-hop beat.
The album gets into the radio-friendly towards the end – against the traditional wisdom to pack the top with the hits and draw people into the rest of the record. “Desperado” should bang on rap radio and in warm up sets DJs before the rapper shows up to their set late. “Coast/Clear” and “Last Choir” match the modern hip-hop zeitgeist with a touch of autotune, catchy hooks and unstoppable beats. The individual groups and members have long existed on the fringes of the mainstream and
The production on the album doesn’t slow down and matches the various flows that appear on the record.
They have worked together over the past decade, but this is the first cohesive work from this massive super group. It flows from start to finish and you feel and experience the fun there are having. New York rap may not have the cache that it once did, but this group wants to put it squarely back on top again.
Stream the album below and pick it up here.