An EP from Houston bearing hardly any stereotypical Houston signifiers. Instead D-Risha channels the best elements of late 90s-early 00s underground rap and connects them to the present, with Kendrick’s specter looming somewhere just out of view. There is much wordy dexterous rapping; the writing is focused and topical, with several tracks devoted to ruminating on specific personal or social matters. Offhand references to Ras Kass and KRS-One are presented as bona fides of the author’s influences, ‘Sebastian Shaw’ is in the very least a subconscious (and maybe even overt) homage to MF Doom. To his credit, D-Risha manages to avoid most of the pitfalls of the dreaded backpacker tag – his raps are never long-winded nor monotonous nor sanctimonious nor pretentious, his beat choices are never boring. He doesn’t forget where he is from either, ‘Bring It Back’ is an homage to Houston tinged with a lament on the current widespread appropriation of the styles which the city originated.
D-Risha’s EP isn’t the first recent release to remind me of the Rawkus days, but it is one of the best to do so. If that type of rap is going to make some kind of comeback, this is a good shape for it to take.
EDIT: One small but cool detail I forgot to mention – somewhere on here D-Risha drops the first Heisenberg/Breaking Bad reference I’ve heard (or at least noticed) in a rap song.
All this via Rappers I Know