Image via Kur/Instagram

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Harley Geffner wants to know what they even do in the Met Gala.

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“I took some losses I learnt a lot, I even got burnt a lot”

Kur is something of a legend in Philly, but is little known outside of the region. He first got hot when he was 18, around 2012, with his fire breathing, bar’d up, and deeply reflective style. He was rapping like he had nothing to lose, which was the reality of his life. Kur was just as hot as Meek Mill in the city before the big Dreamchasers push and was one of the first rappers to really give Uzi a spotlight. But as those rappers ascended into mainstream consciousness, Kur continued to push out quality street rap for the next decade-plus without the proper recognition.

In 2019, he finally signed to Meek’s label (too little too late, imo). With a veteran perspective on both rap game and life, the quality of his raps had only sharpened. His latest, “Lil Bro,” is a phenomenal showing from an under-recognized legend. Throughout the video, he’s talking to a young kid facing the same realities that he experienced. It’s unclear if it’s supposed to be someone different, or if he’s actually just talking to his younger self, but it’s real sincere game being bestowed.

At its best, rap is full of lessons, and Kur’s perspective has matured a lot over the years. The main theme is to stay out of your feelings – that you’ll make hot-headed decisions if you act emotionally. He talks about what grudges do to your psyche, and how trust is earned and lost. He remains one of the best storytellers alive.

When you hear Kur reminisce on the tension between friends, the regret around his grandmother’s death, and the inability to bring his whole block with him, you can feel the weight of the real events, real people, and real feelings.

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The comedic element of Florida’s incredible rap scene is sorely underrated. Their guys aren’t ha ha funny like how Flint’s squad is always trying to one up each other with bars more absurd than the next. But there’s unintentional comedy that reminds you that the funniest people often aren’t even trying to be funny.

Over a monstrous beat that sounds like 2013 Heatles LeBron shaking the whole state with an oop, Bossman Dlow tells you exactly how much everything he’s wearing costs – even though nobody asked. On this All Star cypher, C Stunna says that he wears shoes he thinks are ugly just because they’re expensive. It makes no sense why they’re all showing off their jewelry in the kitchen of a fast food joint. This is genuinely funny because they’re really deadass with this stuff.

The Florida starting five here can go bar for bar with any scene in the States right now. Loe Shimmy’s understated slither sounds perfect next to Bossman’s booming vocals, which sound even more perfect next to Luh Tyler’s way-too-gravelly-for-a-kid voice. This is one of those cyphers where a moment coalesces in a single song. Except they’ve been having a moment for the last 10 years.

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Listening to this song feels like rewatching a home video on VHS. It’s staticky, feels sentimental, and you can hear the rewinds happening in real time. Earl and Harrison’s beat produces this effect, even slowly morphing on the outro to further emphasize the feeling. It’s dense and blurry, the type of beat usually reserved for instrumental tapes, but Connecticut’s RealYungPhil finds a shimmering pocket to ride with his blunt raps. The flow feels off at first until it snaps into place.

On a relisten, the snap happens sooner. On another, even sooner than that, until it hits right out the gate. Like Alphonse Pierre said, he can rap over any producer’s weirdest beat.

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Back down to Florida: El Snappo stays snapping. It’s something about the accent that makes literally anything sound better. But it’s not just the accent. Snappo has real chops as a writer and his flows and beat selection are one-of-one.

Over a bassline cut from the thickest of juices, Snappo makes an honest “free the homie” anthem, even recruiting some kids at the end to yell “Free 3.”  He calls for his cousin to get out on a work release program, so they can get back to getting money together via route money – as opposed to street money. I’m not sure what that means, but it sounds cool .

Occasionally, a rapper-producer combo comes along that just feels like it was handcrafted by the gods themselves. On YOP!, Myaap recruits super-producer Nedarb to lock in with a slew of Milwaukee clap-forward beats for her to yop all over. Nedarb takes the Milwaukee sound and crafts it in his own image with some muted but tectonic bass to counterbalance the claps.

The tape runs a cool 13 minutes, moving from booty-shaking heel-toe-heel-toe raps through old Kanye samples and Myaap smacking her opponents in perfect harmony. The tape is an easy re-listen and each song blends perfectly into the next, moving through moods while keeping a consistent dance-able vibe.

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