Five hours north of New York City in Rochester, NY, things move slowly. So it makes sense that Ishmael Raps, despite busting on the rap scene with “CAMO” in June of 2013, has yet to drop a solo project after the success of that song. People seem to forget that rappers live lives outside of hip-hop. Artists don’t just make music on a whim; their work is a cumulation of experiences, environments, and people. That’s what gives art its fabric.
Today we’re premiering the 20-year-old Ishmael’s new single “Day Ones,” and on it he draws strength from the friends he’s grown up with and the city he’s grown up in. “Same nigga since day one / Real niggas don’t play dumb,” he spits with disdain, before summing up his outlook with, “Rappers lame so I facepalm.” The kid is pretty aloof from the rap game, but that’s what gives him an aura of mystery, something most image-driven rappers today sorely lack.
“Day Ones” is also the strongest hook Ish has written so far, grabbing your ear with a simple three-word melody. The ominous electronic backdrop provided by KZA K’Lee, Go-Rilla, and Ishmael himself sounds like the rap soundtrack for a Christopher Nolan flick. You ever walk into a party a little under the influence and feel the wave of the moment wash over you in an instant? That’s kind of what this song sounds like.
The Rochester newspaper recently showed love to Ishmael, so “Day Ones” is just an end of year treat for his fans, but a couple months ago we got a preview of some new music Ishmael has been working on, and we’ll tell you right now – when he drops that shit, he might just change the game. For now, listen to “Day Ones” above and keep a close eye on Ishmael Raps.
photo by ITENJI