Maseo’s New MC Makes 5 Fingers A Hard Fist To The Face Of Hip-Hop In A New Freestyle (Video)

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Born and raised in Harlem, rapper Bill Ray is signed to Maseo (of De La Soul)’s indie label, Bear Mountain. Formerly a member of group Triple Beam, he’s been pursuing a solo career for over a decade, earning thousands of fans by touring with De La Soul and performing his music. Now officially under Maseo’s wing, Bill is gearing up to release a new album, Caught Up in the Boom Bap Trap, and has plans to work with DJ Premier, Pete Rock, Da Beatminerz. Maseo and Bill visited Sway for an in-depth interview that served as both an introduction to and a showcase of Bill Ray’s skills as a rapper. “He’s not just a dope MC, he’s the total package,” says Mase of his longtime friend and signee. “He’s a star.”

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At the 28:15 mark, Bill Ray enters the “5 Fingers of Death” chapter of his interview, and he proves Maseo’s words to be true. Atop original production from Mase himself, Bill freestyles for the first two beats, then proceeds to spit one of his records. It’s there that he starts to go in on several targets, including Lil Cease, Jeezy, Paul Wall, Missy and more. For the fourth beat, Maseo throws on the Rockwilder-produced “Oh No,” originally performed by Mos Def, Pharoahe Monch, and Nate Dogg. It’s here that he really catches his groove, effortlessly piecing together phrases like “you ain’t never done shit/bum bitch, cut the lies/there ain’t no Basketball Wives without basketball guys.” He also manages to throw a jab at Mona Scott. When all is said and done, he’s won over the studio, but Sway is quick to disclaim the content of the lyrics, saying he’s going to need to make a lot of apology calls because of the freestyle.

Caught Up in the Boom Bap Trap, which Bill Ray describes as meaning “real Hip-Hop shit, but the hustle aspect is always there” and centers on “hustling, the struggle, and real shit,” is an unknown release date.

Elsewhere in the interview, Maseo discusses at length his work as a label executive, and Bumpy Knuckles calls in to show his support for Bill Ray (22:35).