“Everyone on these EPs are Icons to me and it was an honor to be a part of it. Salute to Nine, Neek The Exotic, Kool G Rap, Large Professor and Royal Flush.“ —Kut One on his new project, The Icons, Vol. 1 & 2
Australian producer and turntablist Kut One showcases not only his own talents but those of two living New York rap legends on The Icons, Vol. 1 & 2. On the first EP, he’s joined by Queens tough-talker Neek The Exotic, who brought along a few like-minded guests for the ride. And for the second EP, you’ll hear Kut’s intricate productions complemented by the gravelly and gully rhymes of the BX’s Nine.
For the first half, Neek is joined by fellow Queens heavyweights on standout tracks “Welcome to Violence”, which features Kool G Rap and Royal Flush, and “Everything’s on Course”, which features Large Professor. The borough is thoroughly represented here, particularly when Neek goes solo on the more summery “I Don’t Know”.
And for the second half, Nine kicks things off with a bang on “Basquiat”, which boasts a hilarious shot at notorious loudmouth Stephen A. Smith over Kut One’s menacing production. That vibe continues on the criminal-minded lead single, “When Ah Pull Up”, the paranoia-heavy “Might Get Shot”, and on the raw closing track, “Welcome to N.Y.C.”
Taken as a whole, the first two installments of The Icons are a thrilling celebration of the grimier side of underground rap. They’re also a reminder that this style of rap has not—and will never—go out of style. It’s a timeless example of the culture’s underbelly, where sample-flipping Boom bap production sets the stage for emcees to talk their shit. And that’s exactly what we’ve got here, as both Neek and Nine drop bar after bar on each of their respective four tracks.
The Icons, Vol. 1 & 2 is available now through all major digital retailers and streaming platforms via Chopping Block Records. Please note that the Bandcamp edition includes the instrumental passes for Vol. 1, and Vol. 2 features a bonus track titled, “Gimme My Money”.