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Conductor Williams on Remy Banks' The Phantom Of Paradise

Conductor Williams. Screenshot from his Instagram.
Remy Banks is arguably one of the most talented and consistent New York rappers of the last decade. While I'm sure Banks may deflect such a comparison, his understated swagger, smooth delivery, and dedication to his home of Queens is more reminiscent of Nas than perhaps any other working artist. Despite collaborations and tours with the likes of Earl Sweatshirt, Flatbush Zombies, and A$AP Mob, Banks has not yet seen much mainstream attention, but the recent surge in support of other classic New York revivalists like Griselda may be reason to be optimistic.

One of several threads that connect Banks to Griselda is Kansas City's Conductor Williams. Williams (formerly known as D/Will) has long been revered here for his collaborations with Stik Figa, Barrel Maker, and other local rappers, but only recently has he cracked into a truly national audience through placements on multiple albums from Westside Gunn. But back to Banks -- Williams has production credits on three tracks on his new full-length, The Phantom Of Paradise, released late last month.

On "The Cycle," Banks raps about the human tolls of a family's run-ins with the law over a Conductor beat warm with the crackle of vinyl, what may be a vibraphone, a quick organ riff, and other eerier elements. "Triboro" is a real doozy of a collab track. Banks raps about doing some glad-handing at a local eatery and pays tribute to late drill star Pop Smoke. Fool's Gold prez A-Trak assists with some scratching, Mr. Muthafuckin' Exquire is on a tear for his guest verse, and former Ratking emcee and beloved everyman Wiki stops in near the end. Maybe it's because I rewatched Uncut Gems last night, but the beat on "Triboro" almost feels like if Oneohtrix Point Never did a wonky, whirring take on an old school New York beat. Lastly, "New Era" is the type of beat, with its smooth guitar licks and leisurely energy, that if handed to Action Bronson, would 100 percent include a lyric about being on a boat (this is a good thing).


My recommendation: throw this album on and drive down to pick up a proper meal somewhere in the River Market or Columbus Park, the most New York-ish neighborhoods in this little cowtown of ours.

Stream or download these songs and the rest of The Phantom Of Paradise below.


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