Street King: Skyzoo
Holding It Down For: Brooklyn, NY
Mixtape: The Great Debater
Real Spit: Back when Hov posed the question in his 1997 song “Where I’m From,” people would argue about who was the best MC. Biggie, Jay-Z and Nas were popular G.O.A.T candidates, but after the ’90s era of New York lyricism began to fade, the debate turned to: “Who sells the most records or has the most money?” With his latest mixtape, The Great Debater, Brooklyn rapper Skyzoo looks to re-shift the focus.
“The concept, the theme for the whole project is really just taking the idea of what people already think about me as far as being a lyricist, a rapper’s rapper. And The Great Debater just carries on that tradition,” Sky told Mixtape Daily. “The tape itself is something that people are gonna talk about, go back and forth about, as far as where it puts me in the echelon of MCs and lyricists and where people already place me and where I’m already at with it.”
For Sky to assume that his tape will put him in the conversation with some of rap’s elite may come off as pretentious to those who aren’t familiar with his catalog, but one listen to The Great Debater should curb doubts. The tightly packed bars of “Complicated Rhythm” exemplify S-K’s mission as he parallels his rise to the likes of NBA great LeBron James and Jay-Z. He starts off, “They give me the same flack they gave Gloria’s son/ Either or: James or Carter, but both of them won.”
On “The Definitive Prayer,” he continues to weave intricate rhyme schemes as he brags that his “serenades warrant hearing aids.” The tape’s production is key, too, focusing more on boom-bap than club-driven tracks thanks to beats from 9th Wonder, Illmind and Best Kept Secret. Overall, the Brooklyn rapper’s offering challenges the listener, who will no doubt have to listen several times in order to breakdown the MC’s lyrical layers. But no matter which side of the Skyzoo great debate you end up on, it’s an interesting conversation.
Joints to Check For
» “Written in the Drums” ” ‘Written in the Drums’ is one of the first records that I did for the tape, produced by Swift D. Right away I was like, ‘This is it; this is the one I want to roll with.’ And then that kinda created the theme and the concept of the record where pretty much whatever is gonna be is gonna be, it’s already written.
» “Test Drive” ” ‘Test Drive’ is produced by my man Illmind. For those watching and listening, you already know the chemistry that Illmind and myself have. When we get together, you never know what you’re gonna get. You might get ‘Kitchen Table,’ you might get ‘Krylon,’ you might get ‘Speakers on Blast.’ So with this, we got ‘Test Drive,’ which is unlike anything we’ve ever done before. If I had to pick one record that embodies what the tape represents … this record embodies all of that.
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