As Cardi B continues to conquer pop, the rock and vinyl-centric Third Man Records now has a Queens rapper to call its own. Today Third Man revealed Shirt to be its first hip-hop signee with the release of his new “Flight Home” video — essentially, a victory lap through New York, as gawking tourists catch Shirt riding on top of a moving truck. “Flight Home” is off Shirt’s upcoming album Pure Beauty, out February on Third Man.
Shirt isn’t a rap newcomer. The lyrical bullying tactics and authoritative tone displayed in “Flight Home,” the sort that we crave from throwback New York boom bap, have been his calling card for years now. So have stunts-turned-modern art like the video’s Nike and Adidas-“branded” truck. (“This was done without Nike or Adidas’ permission or consent but with the utmost respect,” Shirt says in a statement.) In 2014, he faked a New York Times write-up that called his own music “galvanizing” and “languorous.” Despite all this, though, Shirt has mostly been regarded as being slept on.
Third Man Records founder Jack White has done hip-hop collaborations before, albeit with marquee names like Q-Tip (they performed at Madison Square Garden!) and Nas (they updated Depression-era song “On the Road Again” for PBS documentary American Epic). So to see Third Man team with an underground artist like Shirt is a pleasant surprise. Watch the “Flight Home” video up top.