As the birthplace of hip-hop culture, New York often finds itself stuck between being the haven of tradition and attempting to stay cutting edge. Smoke DZA (who is from Harlem) and Harry Fraud (who is from Brooklyn) are more than willing to let the cards fall where they may, even if they’re comfortable in their respective styles: “I wouldn’t say New York music is dead or not shit like that, but we’re in this transition of figuring out what the new sound is,” DZA told us in our exclusive interview.
Both DZA and Fraud agree that New York rap is in a constant state of flux, but Fraud took that concept even further, bringing the ubiquity and connective power of the internet into the conversation: “You can’t expect someone who has access to everything at the tip of their fingertips, why would they be confined to a regional sound?” he elaborated. “I’m the kinda person who grew up listening to Nirvana and Mobb Deep in the same Walkman…I might have a cassette with Nirvana or Sublime on one side, flip it over, and I’ll have Ghostface on the other side. And I might have a Three 6 Mafia tape in my backpack.”
New York figureheads from A$AP Rocky to French Montana and beyond cull from Southern hip-hop, and now NY has been divided on up and coming G.O.O.D. Music signee Desiigner sounding very similar to Atlanta rapper Future. DZA compares it to Shyne Po originally being mistaken for Notorious B.I.G.: “It wasn’t some Guerrilla Black type shit where you was tryna look like a character and fit in, so you can compare it to that.”
Check out the whole interview above and cop Smoke DZA & Harry Fraud’s He Has Risen here.