“I don’t get called for features cause I kill 16’s.”

There’s little doubt I’m paying attention when Brooklyn’s own Skyzoo drops a new project, but he went the extra length to win me over with his new “Peddlers Theme” release by going so far wayback (back into time) I would have thought he borrowed a TARDIS from Jodie Whittaker. Now sadly for me movie theaters where I grew up never showed “Wild Style,” but that didn’t stop numerous rappers from looping Grand Wizard Theodore’s “Subway Theme,” including the intro to Nas’ “Illmatic” debut, to the point as a teenage head in the 90’s I went out of my way to track down a copy of the soundtrack. Therefore the beat Skyzoo is using on “For Real’er” is anywhere from 20-30+ years old depending on what your first exposure to it is, but either way if you’re an older head it’s going to itch a nostalgia bone you’ll want to scratch a little more. Given the previous associations with New York hip-hop culture it just “feels right” for a Brooklynite like ‘Zoo to bust on it. He even makes sure to reference Nas and AZ in the first verse to pay homage.

“They said to pull down the shades to count the money up
Put the Grants over there while they double up
Like stop f–kin around and be a man
You either could be stuck on the ground or flee the land
Like you could be the one in the ride who lead the band
or you could be the one on the line who need a grand
Do it how he taught you on the records they bought you
Your hero said he’d run out of town on Peter Pans
Cool, all that resonates and all that dedicates
’til you outside and you see the Vans”

‘Zoo sounds hungry on the track and describes himself as “back to my ‘brick and a booth’ s–t” accurately. This album is also unapologetically not trying to fool anybody listening to hip-hop for more than a minute. “Long Money” jacks the exact same Cortext “Huit Octobre 1971” loop that MF DOOM did on “One Beer.” In fact I ain’t even mad at it that Skyzoo is using such obvious jacks. Some might question the creativity, but for Skyzoo it’s about the bars not the beats (as the opening quote indicates) and if there’s one thing that had made him a fan favorite over the years it’s his flow style and lyrical charisma.

“Long money looked so short… check it
Long money looked so short from 100 feet out
And counting down from 99 make you wanna reroute
98 will test your patience and all that you ’bout
97, 96, 95, hit a switch
Like get a ride, hit a lick, f–k walking with time
Time will tell and mine will tell that we want ‘fore we died
Or at least that’s what they sell us and all of us buy
‘Feeling sorry for our mothers’ was all they replied
Like “hurry up and buy” and shots fly in response
‘Hurry up and die’ is what they kinda really want”

Mr. Taylor barely leaves us enough time to take a trip down memory lane and reminisce over familiar beats. He drops eight songs over a half hour and gets ghost right when you were getting hyped about his return. That doesn’t stop him from making some sly social commentary before he’s Audi on tracks like “Bamboo” with a clear dig at POTUS 45 on his “Funny thing about it you looked inside of his ride/and he had a ‘Make America Great’ hat on the side of him/Typical.” There’s so much horn blowing on this song you might have thought ‘Zoo pulled Olu Dara for a cameo. He definitely pulled the Nas samples of “Finesse Everything,” though if I was to give this short album a name it would be “New York Everything” and unapologetically so. Cop it.

Skyzoo :: Peddler Themes
7.5Overall Score