Words by Sean Walsh

I would be mistaken if I were to say that intelligent, gritty, artistically-violent hip hop wasn’t something that the NY area wasn’t already cultured on….It has always been home to a cultural fusion of varying types of styles, and it continues to progress today. The problem though, is that there are too many people longing for those sounds of days passed…I too am in love with those vibes from say a Kurtis Blow, Grandmaster Flash, or my main man Notorious B.I.G, but we often associate that sound with the golden era of rap, especially in New York.

Fast forward to 2014, where an endless string of robotic social media feeds and trends determine people’s next moves. It’s a time when artists are going to have to start going against the grain and doing something out of the ordinary to get some people to listen.

That’s Wik, Hak, and Sporting Life of Ratking though. Tellin’ tales of the city as they see it through their eyes. They’re out in the cold begging, they’re in the streets howling and smashin’ empty 40s on your stoop, on the Upper West Side or Harlem or pretty much wherever the fuck they want.

But seriously, this 11 track cacophony of aggressive, abrasive, yet soul-infused and brilliantly orchestrated set of sounds and vocal accompaniments, is the type of stuff that rappers and hip hop collectives hope to release on their 3rd or 4th album. RAT embraces that unbelievably foul (yet cool) prosperous nature of the cold New York landscape and turns it into an artistic piece of imagery that could an ignite an entire race of sleeping youth out of their trance-infused-programmed states and into the whirlwind of real-life of responsibility and hard times…and good times…and hard times.

This is quite the intriguing release from this 19, 20, and 32 year-old collective. I’ve been looking forward to this release for a long time, and I made sure to listen to it at least 10 times before I wrote this….And I’d say the same thing over and over again. I love it…it might not be everyone’s cup of tea…and some might even find Wik annoying, as I’ve heard, but frankly when you’re writing lyrics like that, at that age, it really doesn’t matter.

This album is an urban conquest of their habitat, leaving everyone else to ask the questions of what’s next. Ratking has come and made their mark. Educated, artistic, well-conceived, intelligently creative hip-hop, in 2014?? Yup. Take note…it’s not all about fast cars, cash and hoes…although I’m sure that doesn’t hurt. RAT!

‘So It Goes’
Hot Charity
© April 8th, 2014



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