Last Friday, I thumbed through the music files on my smartphone hoping to find something that would give me the energy to push through to the weekend. My eyes lit up as I landed on the Roc-A-Fella Hot 97 Takeover. Every few months, I find myself returning this personal favorite back to the top of my recently played folder. As Jay-Z howled in approval, the then newest additions to the Roc, Philadelphia’s Beanie Sigel, Freeway, Oschino & Sparks, and Young Chris of the Young Gunz, joined a too drunk to stay on beat H Money Bags and fellow Brooklynite Memphis Bleek in Hot 97’s studios in 2001. The now legendary collection of freestyles was a high point in a classic era in Hip-Hop history.
That era inspired DC’s Kingpen Slim, so it makes sense that he circled back to it by featuring Memphis Bleek on the remix to his Triple Beam Dreams standout, “No Photos.” Bleek takes the Team Demo-produced banger to BK, pointing out landmarks and relaying his pedigree along the way. Slim bookends Bleek’s verse with street narratives conveyed from an insider’s perspective. Though the original Roc-A-Fella era has passed, quality street music is in good hands with artists like Kingpen Slim continuing the tradition.