Your Old Droog & Conway Kick Rhymes That Are Hard Like Cement (Audio)

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Brooklyn, New York’s Your Old Droog has in the past labeled a lot of his songs as “Outsider Music,” not Hip-Hop or Rap. However, his latest single, featuring Conway the Machine, is an exception: he has categorized “Cement 4’s” as Metal.

Music of this kind is often called “gritty” or “grimy,” because of the blood and guts lyrics, but what’s fresh here is the way this release, produced by Sadhugold and Ewonee, sounds synthetic, sheeny and artificial. As with much music of this kind, the drums are light, having the same status as the manic laugh (a common feature in Griselda Records songs) and the other shifting musical elements that appear and disappear.

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No longer is the main aim to reproduce the warm analog dustiness of the past, grounded by a solid boom-bap bass interaction. Now it’s about theatrical flourishes and musical excess, just like the full-frontal aural assault provided by a ‘70s Metal act. One difference being, unlike Iron Maiden’s extended drum and guitar solos, here in “Cement 4’s” it’s all happening at the same time.

Droog’s love of guitar-based Rock seems to be a key element to understanding his music. Though born in 1989, his 2015 Kinison EP had a stated Rock-theme, with song titles named after ’80s/’90s bands like Sonic Youth, Rage Against The Machine and Porno For Pyros, the group singer Perry Farrell formed after the break-up of Jane’s Addiction.

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Philadelphia, Pennsylvania-based producer Sadhugold, meanwhile, is known for his interest in reinventing the musical past. His instrumentals album, Madchillainycreatively reworked Madvillain’s cult-lauded Madvillainy from 2004 and was a release that deserves much greater attention.

Shady Records’ Conway The Machine impresses here with an energized delivery, and some nice asides, such as the observation that despite his “twisted face … b*tches tell [him he’s] handsome still.” Then, Y.O.D. flips unlikely bars together that keep it unexpected.

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Last month, Conway released his deeply impressive G.O.A.T. (Grimiest Of All Time) mixtape.