The Bay Area is a blessing and a curse for aspiring MCs. Long considered one of the most consistent and prolific regional rap scenes in the country, the nation of “hyphy” has rarely shifted its scope or sound, built on oxymoronic but undeniable low-key bangers. While providing a geographic pride and communal spirit in the genre, this commitment to distinguishing themselves from external influences has not exactly produced a lot of nationally recognized figures.
Although he has not been around for as long as many of his more experienced peers, Nef the Pharaoh has made an uncharacteristic mark on the edges of mainstream notoriety. He has a sticky flow, with syllables colliding against syllables in a way that chops up a track into shards of hard-hitting seconds. Earlier this winter he dropped a self-titled EP that threatened to burst the Bay Area bubble that has long encapsulated, and in many ways insulated, many an incredible rapper from the scene.
Up next for Nef the Pharaoh is a collaborative mixtape with producer Cardo entitled Neffy Got Wings. The project’s first single, “#Saydaat,” was released last week and embodies a pledge to getting rowdy in the least strenuous way necessary. Nef the Pharaoh’s flow dips in and out of shoulder-shrugging cadences while the beat wobbles uneasily beneath him. Philthy Rich shows up to join in on the laid-back rager, and almost threatens to dial the energy up too high beyond the rest of the track’s hazy cool.
The rapper’s debut album, My Great Impression, is hopefully well on its way. Nef the Pharoah will be performing on one of his biggest stages yet next month with fellow Bay Area rapper G-Eazy at Bill Graham Civic Auditorium. Keep an eye on the rising MC, because he has his sights set on bringing the Bay into nationwide speakers.
G-Eazy, A$AP Ferg, Marc E Bassy, Nef the Pharaoh
Bill Graham Civic Auditorium
February 11, 2016
7:30 PM, Sold Out