New York is finally beginning to regain its own identity. After nearly a decade of wandering aimlessly toward regional trends and pop radio, there is a simmering resurgence of something that resembles the aggressive youth movement that was once the engine that drove Hip-Hop. The movement is small and exists just beneath the surface, but it seems like Rotten Apple Hip-Hop is returning to its outsider art roots.
Currently less heralded than some of his peers, but seemingly destined to enter the national conversation, enters Queens-bred emcee T.Shirt. Culled from the digital debris of a Miami break-in that cost him a Macbook Pro and original Pro Tools sessions, The Fuck is a raw and unfiltered 30 minutes of inventive and clever lyricism set to a neo-boom bap soundtrack. While clearly New York born and bred, Shirt has a unique aesthetic that’s reflected in his production and subject matter. Even so, lyricism is never sacrificed and the short but intense tape ranks high on the entertainment value scale.
Using the setting of a house party as a jumping off point, “Puerto Rican Rum” is a stylized rant on quarter-life crisis without the whininess or psychobabble. “Old Man Angst” brings to mind Spike Lee’s “Fuck You” scene from 25th Hour set to music. “I Never Knew Money,” with it’s haunting keys and matter of fact delivery from Shirt, is a yellowed snapshot of poverty pulled directly from the scrapbook of his Queens upbringing. Add in the previously mentioned tracks, “P*ssy” and “Angst,” and Shirt’s created a strong, ten-song release.
With his SEO-unfriendly name, irreverent attitude, and unique lyrical approach, T.Shirt immediately presents himself as an outsider. Thankfully, he’s an outsider with something to say. The Fuck may not have been Shirt’s original vision in his attempt to capture more eyes and ears to his cause, but the gritty, unsanitized result is an endearing and honest take on one man’s vision worth multiple listens.