The blend of cockiness, raunch, crew camaraderie, and individual nihilism that make up New York rappers’ specific brand of griminess is impossible to reproduce if you’re not a native. While California has had their G-funk eras, their hyphy movements, the South’s been snappin’ and trappin’, there’s always been a certain strain of classicism present in New York rap, even as these out-of-region trends are being simultaneously absorbed.
Jaguar Pyramids are here to carry that grimy sound forward, but you’d never accuse them of being stuck in the past. The two emcees, Topprraaa and Czarquan (LES and Harlem, respectively), bring NY brashness to Tony Seltzer’s (Brooklyn) dark, late-night-deserted-streets production. Seltzer’s beats have always tread the line between cloudy, ambient deconstruction and boom-bap groove, and it’s his guiding sonics, with additional production from Czarquan that help the project succeed. Not to say that Topprraaa (who’s adlib game is out of this world) or Czarquan can’t handle their own—the former’s more absurdist, Auto-Tuned lyrics contrast with Czarquan’s boastful hustler stories to create a multifaceted portrayal of the city’s sound today.