84%Strength of the Tea

This week the underground was steady knockin’, though I guess that assessment sort of depends on where you draw the all too blurry line between underground and mainstream these days. Starting with the most conspicuous releases, we got the DJ Shadow and Run the Jewels “Nobody Speak” collab, Skepta’s new “Man (Gang)” single, and OG Maco’s “Do What It Do” music video. Delving a bit deeper, I highly recommend you check out “Saucin'” by Troop, and this “Smoke Bomb” freestyle by Tef Poe.

Your FRANK Friday pick of the week though comes straight from the DMV region, which despite having one of the most creative, prolific scenes in hip-hop right now, continues to get slept on by fans and media outlets far and wide. The song is “Half & Half Tea” by BeauYoungPrince, off his debut album Until Then. I discovered it by way of the Bombay Knox SoundCloud account, a perennially reliable source of new music from the area.

“Half & Half Tea” has a cool ass melodic vibe with some familiar staccato hi-hats chopping up the synths. Most impressive is the way BeauYoungPrince switches up his flow between a singsong feel to more urgent spitting, matching the actual content of the lyrics. In the first verse he croons, “By the bar she was servin’ me them eyes/ On the stage I was servin’ her them vibes,” before quickly flipping to the harder lines, “Give me bottles when I show up at the venue/ Uber everywhere but riding Beamer’s what I’m into.” The result gives the track a cohesion that’s sometimes missing in rap’s unending delivery of new material.