“Dear Mama was the first rap song that I memorized from start to finish,” Bodega BAMZ says as he recollects his first encounters with hip hop. In the late 90s it wouldn’t have been unlikely to catch a young BAMZ on the M116 bus, bopping on the east side with 2pac’s greatest hits in his Discman. While Harlem has certainly changed a lot since the days of Makaveli, if you step off the 6 train in El Barrio, you’ll immediately see that this side of the city still remains very much the same. Abuelos sip Coronas as they watch over the block from behind a domino table, and young mothers push strollers up Third Avenue while salsa and pachata music scores the streets. This same cultural imagery is reflected in Bodega BAMZ music, causing him to standout as the next rapper who can bring Latin Pride back to hip hop’s forefront.
In his recently released “P.A.P.I” video, BAMZ sits at a table next to his extended Tanboys family, with a large platter of Hennessy laced chicken, rice, beans, platanos and some multi-purpose razor blades. The Last Supper adaptation is a strong representation of how BAMZ is poised to feast up in this game, while remaining true to his culture and not obliging to the mainstreams current menu of weak, processed rap.
Since starting the movement, the Tanboys have since gotten a lot of support from all over, most notably seen in their close bond with the A$AP Mob. “They brought the scope back to Harlem.” Rocking a vintage pink Dipset skully, BAMZ pays homage to those that held Harlem down for a whole decade, as well as new artists like Action Bronson and Flatbush Zombies, who are currently ringing bells from the other boroughs like Queens and Brooklyn respectively.
With a greater sense of unity and mutual respect amongst the waves of new artists from New York, hip hop fans in New York truly have a reason to be excited that their city is no longer divided.
Story By @ChuckChillery