Even a classic sound needs some innovation.
The story of Harlem’s S’natra, who spent his formative rap years jaunting through the New York underground scene before linking up with Ivan Jackson of the GRAMMY-winning production duo Brasstracks, is much the same.
S'natra's latest single, “Off Key,” premiering exclusively on DJBooth, is one of many products of their instant chemistry.
With Jackson’s swath of soundscapes and S’natra’s penchant for precise raps and a fresh ear for melody, “Off Key” represents the sonic crossroads New York hip-hop has approached. S’natra fuses the booming aggression of trap with the tight, succinct spitting of the golden era.
“‘Off Key’ happened at a time when I was hustling to pay the bills,” S’natra tells DJBooth. “It got to the point where that was keeping me away from music a lot, and I had to make a choice. If I’m gonna do this music I gotta go all the way. ‘Off Key’ was like a promise to myself that I wasn’t gonna go halfway with anything—all or nothing.”
That all or nothing mentality drives the cut, from the first explosive synth lead to his hungry flow.
“New York known for being so gritty,” S’natra admits on the verse, but he tempers the dusky quality of his city with a cinematic and symphonic hook. He may worry about sounding off key on the mic, but with his versatility and raw talent, S’natra is right on the money.
“Off Key” is the first single from S’natra’s forthcoming debut project, Subject To Change, which he will be touring from March 16, through April 13.