Officially a single off Dyme-A-Duzin’s upcoming solo album, ‘Swank Sinatra’ brings together some of the best in young NYC rap with members of Pro Era alongside the Phony Ppl frontman himself. Capital Steez, CJ Fly and Joey Bada$$ represent Brooklyn right with quotable rhymes and a confident but chill vibe throughout. While each member of the Progressive crew has a distinctive style, they have collaborated on some of the nicest tapes of the year including Bada$$’ 1999 and their most recent release Peep: The Aprocalypse. Working with production by MF Doom, Madlib, and Pro Era’s own Chuck Strangers (who was named one of Fader magazine’s Four Producers to Watch in 2013), the crew’s efforts to put new-wave East Coast rap on the consciousness of Hip-Hop heads have not gone unnoticed. If you’re not up on Pro Era, correct yourself and keep up with these talented young Brooklynites. Sadly, we already lost one of their best and on December 24; Pro Era MC Capital Steez died at only 19 years old. The Metrojolt fam sends our condolences out to his loved ones and all those affected. R.I.P. Steez.
In what was one of his last appearances, the video for ‘Swank Sinatra’ opens with Capital Steez, Dyme-A-Duzin, CJ Fly, and Joey Bada$$ holding their ground on the (B)east coast mecca of New York City, while the subway rushes through behind them. Dyme-A-Duzin uncorks the cypher with the clever line, “I’ve never spoke to God cause the hood gets bad service/ But I guess I got bars cause he’s sending em for certain”. To complement the savage rhymes, the video is a collection of shots depicting the crew wild’n out in their urban jungle. The style of both the song and the video is a collaborative effort and the symbolic image of the rappers passing the mic back and forth while generally vibing with each other adds meaning to an already sick song.
Bada$$ and Steez take the reins next yappin’ about everything from their antics in Gotham City to infatuations with Polo shirts. Steez rips the track early with his subtle ode to Mary with bars like “Steamin on the low, got me dreaming like a mogul/ the humidity is killin me I call that the O-Zone”. Rounding out the first round of verses with CJ Fly, each rhymer showcases his abilities to hold down the record but it is their second go around that captivated my attention. Pro Era has been able to successfully indulge many young people because their rhymes are instantly relatable to youth culture. For example, Bada$$ concludes his feature with the lines, “Said the rebel, fuck school, burn shit/ dont ask him to pull up his pants, it erks him”. Not that I promote truancy or arson, but I definitely remember being unnecessarily scolded by a teacher for sagging. All four second verses contain a multitude of quotable lines and all in all, ‘Swank Sinatra’ is a smooth track that brings out each rapper’s verbal skills. It is perhaps too soon to say that Steez “killed” the track (R.I.P.) but the group definitely had good reason to position him as the closer as he effortlessly produces fluid lines to end the collab.
Written by Brie and Byrd