Monday, July 7, 2014

New York rapper Bobby Shmurda and the mutation of drill

Posted By on 07.07.14 at 04:15 PM

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When drill broke out two years ago it had an unparalleled grip on the city's hip-hop scene. The genre's rise has been exhaustively documented (though not always well), but if you're eager to get a taste for drill's influence outside this city's borders the best place to look right now might be Vine. The app has pushed New York rapper Bobby Shmurda into the web's limelight after a six-second loop of him performing his "shmoney dance" started going viral a couple weeks ago; the clip shows Shmurda slowly jerking his hips with the right amount of style to make some herky-jerky dance moves mesmerizing. Lots of folks have not only watched #shmoneydance, they've also flocked to its source: Shmurda's music video for a song called "Hot Nigga." That video came out in March but it's seen an uptick in traffic the past couple weeks; when Complex's Insanul Ahmed first wrote about the clip at the end of June it had around a half million views, and it's doubled in less than two weeks (the current count is 1,058,533).

Shmurda's sound isn't too far removed from drill's dark nihilism—the instrumentals he uses have an icy metallic clang to them that sound rooted in the landscape of New York City. Drill's influence factors into Shmurda's presentation even more when it comes to the rapper's lingo. The term "shmoney dance" reads like a sly tribute to King Louie's "Money Dance"; but as Complex's David Drake recently wrote the actual Shmoney Dance doesn't look much like the "Money Dance" or its predecessor, "Dro Style" by deceased drill forefather Pacman. Just as local drill artists took inspiration from Atlanta's trap scene and developed it into a sound unique to Chicago, Shmurda and the rest of his GS9 Entertainment collective are clearly in tune with some of what's been happening in this city's hip-hop scene and have put their own stamp on it.

Take "Shmoney Dance," a Shmurda collaboration with GS9 Entertainment rapper Rowdy Rebbel. Even though the track doesn't sound much like Louie's "Money Dance," the uneven synth stabs and palpitating drums that fuel "Shmoney Dance" are indebted to drill. "Shmoney Dance" has recently started to take off, months after its initial release (the video was uploaded to YouTube at the end of February, and if you watch the visuals closely you can see snowpacks littering the streets behind the MCs).

Both "Shmoney Dance" and "Hot Nigga" appear on the brand new Shmoney Shmurda Promo mixtape, which GS9 Entertainment released over the weekend. Take a listen to the mixtape below:

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