ESSO - New York, New York
After the ‘09 ubiquity of Jay-Z‘s Empire State of Mind, I have a feeling that most of us would be in favor of a moratorium on NYC tribute tracks. With that said, don’t let the title of Harlem emcee ESSO‘s latest feature fool you – inaugural mixtape leak New York, New York contains nary a sweeping soul sample or soaring chorus. The overall mood of this cut is more ambivalent than anthemic, with producer Rena1ssance serving up a left-of-center mix of acoustic guitar and queasy synths as ESSO shares his feelings on his hometown, acknowledging the Big Apple as a key influence on his character (“No matter where I go in the world, they immediately know as soon as I touch down where I’m from…”) but refusing to force his music into the Northeastern mold. Fans will undoubtedly appreciate the emcee’s commitment to nonconformity, but does the unconventional approach he takes here pay off? I’ll leave that for you to decide. In any case, fans will be able to hear more fresh new material from the man who brought us exclusive freestyle Thinkin’ Out Loud Again on April 26, when The Anti-Socialite hits the ‘net for free download.