September introduced the New York duo of Armand Hammer, comprised of billy woods and Elucid, with the Half Measures mixtape. The group formed after billy woods sought out Elucid to contribute a guest verse to his History Will Absolve Me record. Upon working with Elucid, woods was so impressed he took it as a challenge, stating “steel sharpens steel”.
In a month's time woods and Elucid have unloaded two albums worth of material. Half Measures is the foundation, but there's no mistaking Race Music as the group's definitive debut. With production by Steel Tipped Dove, Marmaduke, Willie Green, and Blue Sky Black Death, Race Music is a deadly medley of indigenous New York rap. Armand Hammer was a medical professional born of an immigrant family, who made his first million selling alcoholic ginger extract during Prohibition. From there, depending on who you ask, Hammer was the American Dream, a spy for the Soviet Union, a corrupter of politicians, an oil tychoon, and the grandfather of Theo Huxtable. Elucid and billy woods as Armand Hammer share his story to a degree (woods is the son of immigrants), but their business is the cerebral manifestation of rap aimed to address conflicts among black people. Many records claim New York, but Race Music is embedded beyond the cacophony of an Iron Jungle. It's rooted in history from the reappropriation of antiquated rap quotes to its people who are consumed by the harsh city, like Willie Bosket a black minor who altered the state's law by being convicted for murder under penalty as an adult, and its people who subvert the system to become tychoons.
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Armand Hammer's Race Music is out October 22 on Backwoodz Studioz.
See Armand Hammer tonight at our CMJ showcase with The Needle Drop & Terroreyes.tv at Shea Stadium.