Once upon a time, rap was full of urban legends, stories of verses you only heard if you had access to rare bootlegs, legendary remixes you’d never hear, stories of impromptu cyphers where legends matched wits with up and comers, or where up and comers became something more. Rap isn’t the only genre that lent itself to word of mouth mythology, but its potent combination of pirate-radio origins and a penchant for hero-building, the culture born in the Bronx in parks and rec rooms is particularly predisposed to these types of excited whispers.
Thanks to the advent of YouTube, Spotify, Rdio, Soundcloud, Ustream, Instagram, Snapchat, Vine and any number of other apps that I’ve forgotten (or that don’t yet exist), cultural preservation is simpler and more prevalent than ever before. Every moment can be captured and reproduced ad infinitum, making a mockery of words like “limited edition” and “rare” (unless we’re speaking of the mighty Based God’s “rare,” an idea that probably deserve its own essay-length unpacking). By the time young stars like Kendrick Lamar and ASAP Rocky arrive in the public consciousness, they have left a trail easily traced back to the earliest moments.
If not for Soundcloud enshrinement, Joey Purp‘s “Don’t Stop” might be the sort of song that had rap listeners buzzing and searching for burned CD’s in flimsy sleeves. Over dark boom bap production (a recent calling card for certain corners of the SAVEMONEY crew), Purp shreds syllables, putting greater passion behind each bar, frustration and excitement all coming to bear in a fire that can be felt through headphones. It’s an exercise in technique and presence.
“Don’t Stop” is not a game changer. It’s one great collection of verses among many in the catalog of Purp and his SAVEMONEY cohorts. It’s also the type of performance that becomes a cornerstone as a young rapper builds his legacy.
Listen to “Don’t Stop” (off Purp’s upcoming iiiDrops mixtape) below.