Smoke DZA-Gotham F*cking City ft. Joey Bada$$

On recieving Smoke’s K.O.N.Y. mixtape in October, this was the standout track. That’s not just because of the feature and Batman-related title either: the production is J Dilla’s hugely-underappreciated and utterly phenomenal Over the Breaks (sidenote: Dilla fans in London and Manchester, check out these Dilla-related events).

Backed by booming percusson and snarling synths, DZA opens with a very likeable, Pusha T-esque verse, combining the thoughts of a ‘disaffected youth’ in with some aggression, and packaging the lyricism into a good flow that rides the beat well. Joey’s on next with a slick delivery of his own, throwing together some very clever lines in a performance that quite simply oozes confidence and quality, and he’s unquestionably a great fit for this dark and intense production.

The beat is allowed time to breathe towards the end, and that allows the video’s story to surface unopposed. The monochrome filter serves to enhance the production’s downbeat nature, whilst the video’s focus on the grittiness and inherent perils of street life are in turn boosted by the audio, building to a dramatic twist at the end that makes this worth watching. It’s a raw, realistic video and when backed by the excellent audio, it’s one you’ll watch several more times. Great audiovisual.

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