Out of all the underground labels and collectives, Grey 59 has always been one of my favorites. I was first brought into the G59 world after listening to $uicideboy$ pretty religiously, as ironic as that might sound, and it was through them that I was introduced to the other artists on the roster. Germ probably came next, then Shakewell, and Ramirez was always an act I respected like crazy even though he might’ve been the final artist I was put onto. Through all of their respective music, they bring such diversity to the label without abandoning the collective’s dark, ruthless nature that was what drew me in early on in the first place.
Most recently, Ramirez took to Twitter to drop off a brand-new song entitled “Tales From Tha Guttah” as well as an accompanying music video, and this track displays his skills at an all-time high. Rocci produced this underworld hit, using menacingly deep piano keys mixed with mystifying synths, piercing percussion along with an equally earsplitting drum line, and a telltale pitched-down vocal chop that is very characteristic of other members of the label as well. As he begins to spit, his words are delivered in a choppy yet consistent manner and although he speaks hastily, he never has to slur his lyrics together, making sure you’re able to understand and appreciate the threatening topics he’s going into detail about.
He comes off as ruthless as ever, putting his aggression at the forefront of his delivery in order to make anyone who’s not on his side feel understandably uneasy. There is a background layer of vocals that can be heard throughout the entire track that repeats every word he recites, but in a higher pitch that is accentuated by a filter that comes off as if he’s being played on an old school radio that doesn’t have great reception. Although this might sound as if it’s making the song sound too gritty or unclean, it actually adds the perfect amount of impurity to pair flawlessly with the overall vibe of the record itself.
No matter how quickly his bars come out of his mouth, he never seems to be in a hurry, rather opting to remain calm and unphased by the rapid nature of the track. In the hook, he elevates the emotion within his delivery, almost yelling without truly raising the volume of his voice to add some even more differentiation to his already dexterous talents that are on full display throughout the song. As he takes us on a sonic tour throughout this offering, Ramirez provides even more assault through his hard-nosed bars referring to violence, tales of life in the streets, and his tough upbringing that helped shape him into the unapologetic person he is today.
As the video begins, two kids walk into a bodega of some sort, grab a couple of drinks out of the fridge, and head to the counter where there’s a television. They ask the clerk to turn something on, so he picks up the remote, clicks a button, and we’re brought into the dark world that Ramirez has brought to life for fans. We first see the emcee in an empty, underground scene as the camera uses a filter to make it seem very lo-fi, looking as if this scene was shot on an old school camera from the ‘90s. This filter is used in a plethora of other scenes throughout, playing up the granular, gritty vibe of the track itself. Other shots show Ramirez reciting his lyrics in front of a few different situations, some involving police attempting to detain certain individuals while others show a group that seems to be jumping and/or robbing someone.
In the second verse, he’s joined by his labelmate Shakewell who helps him count money and divide up some sort of drug in the middle of a dimly lit room. After this, the two head back to the original scene where Ramirez began the video, this time joined by a cop car. As he stands on top of the vehicle, Shakewell spray paints anti-police messages while the lights flash around and illuminate the setting. The visual comes to an end with the clerk turning off the TV, leaving the two impressionable kids in awe as their jaws seemingly drop to the ground in disbelief of what they just witnessed.
If you can listen to this song, watch the video, and still not understand why I have such high praise for the G59 member, then I think the issue might be on you. His bars are as masterful as they come, and his attack is at an all-time high. He provides a new, more ruthless spin on some West Coast gangster music that is not only much appreciated by me, but it’s also more eye-opening than anything coming out of that geographical region in Hip-Hop. I love the pitched-down sample because this is something that most artists outside of the label don’t utilize, and it brings you back to another time in music that goes underappreciated in the current climate of the genre. The visual also did a fantastic job of elevating the vibe of the song through the use of grainy filters and unbelievable scenes, so I don’t think this offering could have gotten any better if they tried. Ramirez is one of the most incredible artists in the entire Rap genre, and if you haven’t paid him the respect he deserves just yet, check out his brand-new video for his song “Tales From The Guttah” to understand exactly where I’m coming from.
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