The Byrd Gang Crew Heat Up New York, Preview New Album [Exclusive Coverage]
By Mikey Fresh & Erica Lamar
New York -- Forget ballin’, Jim Jones is on pace to own the league. The Harlem-bred Capo is fresh off a surprise performance at this year’s Hot 97 Summer Jam show and his latest single, “Good Sh*t,” has summer anthem written all over it. To kick off the summer season, the self-made, working class super-hero recently gathered many of New York’s elite tastemakers to dissect his group’s latest endeavor– Byrd Gang’s debut album, M.O.B.
On what was, according to Jones, "officially the hottest day in the universe," Byrdgang members NOE, Mel Matrix, Sandman, and Chink Santana ignored the 95-degree weather and sweltering humidity to make their collective introduction to the world. A supportive Dame Dash also joined Jones in ceremoniously uniting the Byrd Gang's new and familiar faces.
Despite all of regional sectarianism currently dividing hip-hop, all the Gang’s members repped their cities and their set with complete unity, showing just how Diplomatic they truly are. Broken up and then all rolled up together, much like the constant “homemade cigars” Jones smokes, the Byrd Gang’s material showed a varying state of emotion and the struggles of inner-city life. On “Only 17,” featuring Jones, Mel Matrix, and deceased member Stack Bundles (RIP), the crew trade verses about the difficulties of surviving as a teenager when faced with extreme adversity, a far less-macho approach than most listeners are accustomed to hearing. While its conscious message is a nice change of pace, the album consists mostly of melodic anthems, ride friendly joints and flashy street staples like “Byrd Gang Money” and “Bury Me In My Gucci's.”
The crew’s current wavy gem of a single, “Splash,” finds Jones taking the lead as the track begins, with a common braggadocio/super thug message throughout. The Harlem native’s swagger and overall attitude, though, is what clearly separates him from the ringtone rap dudes currently banking off the industry. With the bulk of the album’s production handled by former Murder Inc. beatsmith, Chink Santana, the instrumentals carry a vibe that bring together the group’s ability to sound like a single unit.
“Its gonna be real street, but we have something for the ladies, too," Santana told DJBooth.net. “But not for your average chicks, for those who are ready to ride for theirs."
Though the album’s strongest tracks feature their ringleader Jones, the newcomers all posses unique personalities and contrasting rhymes styles. Avoiding the common flaw of most group albums, it’s clear that this strong-armed steady batch of emcees is serious about their craft. M.O.B. is set to hit stores this summer.