Album Review: Remy Banks – higher.




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Ask enough people about Remy Banks and eventually someone is going to mistake him for an associate of Fetty Wap, who sings the words “Remy Boyz” at the beginning of his world-conquering “Trap Queen”. Don’t make that mistake. Remy Banks is a charismatic 26-year-old rapper from Queens, while Remy Boyz are the Fetty-led trio out of New Jersey. But even if it’s hard to picture Banks coming up with a song as popular as “Trap Queen” — he doesn’t have those pop inclinations — his new higher. mixtape is consistently enjoyable, boasting a number of compulsively listenable songs.

As for Banks’ actual associates, he’s a member of Children of the Night and the World’s Fair collective that includes that trio. He’s recorded with other “New New York” rappers including Flatbush Zombies and Bodega Bamz, and he’s currently on tour with Earl Sweatshirt and Vince Staples. That said, Banks makes a name for himself with the intuitive higher., which is full of songs that are both dynamic and relaxing. Imagine an East Coast version of Curren$y and you have something close. Sure, he occasionally contemplates more serious subject matter like romantic woes (see the R&B-leaning “a new york love pt 3.” featuring Joyce Wrice and Odd Future’s Syd tha Kyd) and family (as on the brassy Hak collab “feast.”), but, mostly, this is low-stress music that needs Banks’ personality more than it needs revealing personal details.

Maybe the most important connections here, more than any collaborator, are Banks’ ties to New York. higher. isn’t quite as rooted in East Coast traditions as, say, Joey Bada$$’s B4.DA.$$, but those roots are pulled up and examined. The thumping “rem.”, featuring Nasty Nigel and produced by Left Brain, finds Banks rapping for his borough “like 50 did back in ’02,” while “7th Heaven (interlude).” briefly but vividly recalls Mobb Deep. On the other end of the spectrum is the Black Noi$e production “n1go.”, a more deliberately modern synth bubble with a slick chorus. The song sends a message: Banks believes in the strength of his Queens pedigree, but he’s also aware of the drawbacks that come with sounding like you’ve never left a particular place. higher. establishes him as a hometown prospect unafraid to scope out new horizons. Remember his name.

Essential Tracks: “rem.”, “n1go.”, and “feast.”