As indie hip-hop continue to geographically fracture across the digital landscape, young upstart MC and producer Curzøn is embracing locality. Only 18 and already artful in both rapping and building beats, the self-professed “Gotham city’s finest” serves up a definitively Brooklyn flow that recalls the early days stylings of Nas, Biggie and even Jay-Z. The Sheepshead Bay native has avoided the globalization trap that has reduced so many young rappers to homogenous hype-beasts, and is instead honing his craft as a bars-busting lyricist that favors smooth productions over the all-systems-turnt-up approach. Okayplayer sat down with the teenage talent and learned first-hand which hip-hop legends keep him motivated to progress, as well as his plans for 2015 (spoiler: they’re big).
We’re also very proud to premiere Curzøn’s newest single, “Legacy.” Based in simple piano chops and bass heavy enough to crack a brownstone, the track is an assertion: Curzøn is already ready for his place in the lineage of the East Coast greats. Listen below and read up.
Okayplayer: Please state your age and government name.
Curzøn: 18. Aiden Pompeii
OKP: You rep Brooklyn on your tracks and describe yourself as ‘gotham’s finest’ –where in Bk did you come up?
C: I’ve moved around Brooklyn a little bit in recent years. Crown Heights for a little while, but born and raised in Sheepshead Bay.
OKP: The sound of Bk these days ranges from Beast Coast rap to Williamsburg indie pop. Where do you see yourself fitting into the boroughs soundscape? Do you have collaborators or a crew that you work with?
C: I like to keep my beats laid back and easy, but make sure it’s something that sticks with you. I typically collaborate with producers all over the world. Soundcloud has been such a great medium for me to be able to branch out and get new ideas and expand my music library in general. Most recently I’ve been able to partner with producers at SweetSounds Studio, and have been spending a lot of nights over there bouncing off new ideas and trying new things.
As far as the BK scene goes, I’m not really sure where I fit. Brooklyn has such a massive history of producing great artists in a wide range of genres, so I think anything that comes from here should add to that diversity rather than replicate the same stuff that the other guys are doing. I mean this is New York, if you’re doing it the same way as the guy next to you, you’re doing it wrong. It’s all a part of the hustle. So in my music, I would say that I’m just trying to craft a voice of my own that adds to that diversity. More than anything though, I just want to make sure that my writing has a strong message, so that people think about what I have to say instead of just seeing me as another kid from Brooklyn who raps.
OKP: Your flow has a definite, timeless NY quality that draws on ’90s and early 2000s hip-hop–some lines seemed to be explicitly aimed at building on classic Biggie and Nas rhymes (‘smacked God at my christening’) more than they’re influenced by the current state of rap. Are you a ’90s baby? What do you consider your major influences?…