When you title your mixtape New New York and audaciously sample Gil Scott-Heron's 1976 classic New York City on the opening track, you had best bring your A-game. Luckily for old-school hip-hop aficionados, Queens emcee Bryant Dope talks the talk on this collaboration with producer Hannibal King.
While fellow rising New York rappers draw inspiration from Houston screw (A$AP Rocky) and acid punk (Mykki Blanco), Dope's sound is firmly rooted in the five boroughs. Over King's crackling, boom-bap production - including a beat that Busta Rhymes fans will recognize on Generation Y - the rapper recounts laid-back tales of growing up, smoking with friends and struggling to find employment, with references to Mobb Deep and A Tribe Called Quest.
Lyrically, he's still a student finding his voice, but Dope is among the freshman class's most promising.
Top track: NNY (feat. ANTHM)