This group of Harlem emcees came up in 2013, immediately heralded as one of the groups (along with Pro Era and Flatbush Zombies) that could bring back New York hip-hop. But while Wiki, Hak, and Sporting Life certainly draw upon their regional heritage (the beats are heavy on samples, raps full of poetic flow), they didn't stay mired in nostalgia.
Ratking's first release, 1993, pulled direct inspiration from Wu-Tang Clan and synthpunk duo Suicide. But Wiki also listened to a lot of Baltimore's Animal Collective growing up. As their legend started to spread, so did their web of collaborators. The group found kindred spirits from England, collaborating with Skepta and King Krule's raspy bellows to add a little grime to their sound.
Then they went on tour with Earl Sweatshirt and Run the Jewels, gravitating away from the smooth lyrical flow of NYC and towards the politically-charged energy blasts currently enabling RTJ to take over the nation. These days, the group possesses a sound that recalls punk rock and trap as much as Wu-Tang—but they haven't forgotten their roots. Their latest (free via BitTorrent) release, 700 Fill, features rising New York rappers like Remy Banks, Despot, Princess Nokia.