Flatbush rapper 22Gz has been on my radar since 2018’s “Suburban.” The menace, the viscera, the fearsome delivery… It felt like a perfect Brooklyn drill moment. In the years to follow, 22Gz would have several perfect Brooklyn drill moments, all leading up to his latest commercial mixtape, Growth & Development. As the name of the project suggests, 22Gz, born Jeffrey Alexander, uses Growth & Development to broaden his horizons as a spitter. All the early potential of “Suburban” is made good on with standout tracks abound across the 13-song offering. But, of course, there can only be one sleeper hit in the 22-year-old artist’s latest effort.
“No Questions” is hard, no question. Produced by the UK’s Ghosty, the production is positively haunting. Wisps of synths spiral out of speakers while crunching percussion give us the sense 22Gz is spitting over shards of a drum kit. There is carnage to this beat; a whole horrifying mood is set, all before 22Gz appears to eviscerate the mic with his measured and gnawing flow. 22Gz plods over the beat. His every word is heavy. “No effort / How I leave a n***a breathless (Gang-gang-gang) / It can get reckless,” he says with a champion’s command of the mic.
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The great success of “No Questions” is how 22Gz plays with space. The tiny breaks where the beat falls out and it’s just us and 22Gz’ monstrous voice inspire real catharsis. His tearing vocal feels as if it’s busting down the instrumental, as if no beat could hold 22Gz’ larger-than-life aura. The gruesome lyricism (“Chop him up, dissect him”) is tactile and fleshy. It’s gross and it’s raw, and it’s true to life. “No Questions” brings us into 22Gz’ world but doesn’t allow the privileged class comfort in voyeurism.
“No Questions” is the one to play when you feel the need to rage against the strains of whatever is chaining you down. If we were allowed outside, “No Questions” would be spilling from cars and neighbors’ windows. Too bad we can’t go anywhere, and it just snowed in Philly this morning. Instead, let’s all play “No Questions” and rage safely indoors with our freshly-washed hands.