Photo credit (above): @zoomoguy
It is safe to say that NY hip-hop has been going through something of an experimental renaissance lately. Though some may continue to argue that New York has lost mainstream relevance, it is now populated by numerous underground, idiosyncratic MCs who proudly wouldn’t be within spitting distance of a Billboard chart in any decade. Artists like Wiki, MIKE, and Your Old Droog have flourished by taking advantage of the lack of traditionalist constraints surrounding their music, and Theravada is chief among them with the release of his new project Xen Griffey.
This designation arises from numerous factors, his elusive online presence (he is infamous for taking down songs more-or-less whenever he feels like it), as well as the erratic production from himself and other like-minded producers which takes equal notes from the noir-ish sampling from L’Orange, and the glitchy tendencies characterizing Knxwledge’s output. Theravada himself meanwhile, reveals himself to be an equal-opportunity cynicist, quick to fire sharp barbs at any target whether it be trend-chasing blogs or rappers who “talk about chakras” and “rap like Slikk The Shocker”. Theravada frequently subverts hip-hop conventions whether through his unexpected references (you’d be hard pressed to find a hip-hop project with this many baseball references), or the way he staggers but never stumbles over the ever-shifting production surrounding his verses.
Xen Griffey is dense in its arrangement (coming in at 20 tracks, many of which matched with unorthodox recording), but benefits from having a structure much akin to a beat tape with the average track length hovering around the two minute mark. There is a lot of intriguing material on Xen Griffey and it would be best to give it your attention soon in the case that he decides one random day to take it down entirely.
You can also stream on SoundCloud here.