Hey y'all! Long time, no write from me, but glad to be back doing this shit again on this broken ass website. Had some long, hard thoughts lately about continuing to do this stuff, but all in all, I really just like writing for myself and sharing music with y'all, so I'm still gonna be kicking and continue this writing stuff more on here. For my first output of the year, I decided to take the usual Jersey Club stuff from my previous overall roundups and focus it as a singular roundup of its own, so hopefully throughout the year, I will do my best to showcase the best of Jersey Club more regularly now and show how this is spreading throughout the world. This first one is a bit all over the place, but I just wanted to cover what has been going on with this crazy genre throughout the last 2 months, so hope you find something new and hope you enjoy! So let's get started...
First, we are going to go through some of the best Jersey Club tunes of the last month or so:
I am going to start off with probably the most polarizing song on here, as I can understand that a few folks reading this might scoff at this and close the tab, but THIS is one of the main reasons why I am a madman who listens to Jersey Club all of the time. Over the past few years, there's been this sect of club producers emerging whose sound leans more towards left-field sound collage, as this aggressively overblown style has taken a small life of its own in the Jersey Club stratosphere. A lot of that sound can be attributed to Jersey producers HaZe, 2napps, and SteezTheProducer, as these three are really the three-headed serpent who really started this abrasive style due to their infinite genius. It's a "either you like it or you don't" type of thing to the average person, but honestly, this is seriously why this is one of the coolest music scenes in the world, as this sounds like Jersey Club 25 years into the future - There's nothing like this ANYWHERE.
Nothing exhibits this absolute batshit insanity more than "Ultimate Ninja Storm 3," a collab with one of the greats of Jersey Club, SteezTheProducer which samples Naruto in a way that is barely comprehendable, because what in the HELL is going on here. From the literal first millisecond, you are bombarded by this assault of auditory hell that is almost indescribable, as it feels like your ears are being disintegrated by the corrosive might of this song. The samples are barely even decipherable, as you're doing everything you can trying to figure them out, but they are so drowned out by these manic synth lines and Jersey triplets that feel more like a violent pulse to your chest, rather than just some booming kicks to get you moving. qua really sets the tone with his insane flow amongst the destruction, but Steez really makes it and comes in with an assault of distortion and hellfire that feels like the nuclear explosion scene from Terminator 2 as you are just melted to absolute nothingness. I keep coming back to this tune even after a month that it's been out, because I still refuse to believe that this is possible. Sure, it's a very niche subset of this genre, but this is the most inventive and out-of-this-world we've ever seen Jersey Club throughout its decades-long history.
I know damn well we're never getting another Def Jam game ever again, so this is the next best thing. More specifically, Def Jam FFNY has been a hot commodity for Jersey Club the last few years, as there's been loads of good songs sampling the iconic fighting game to ridiculous lengths. With this whopping beast of a 6-minute tune, that stays the same regardless of length because this might be the best FFNY attempt yet, as this is a Mega Lab battle royal match for the ages, showcasing some of the best rising producers in the scene today. Also, I really love the concept of each producer being assigned an artist/character in the game for their part, like they all have their controllers plugged in the PlayStation to showcase their own unique styles. From LilSnatched's energetically frantic and chaotic Lil Kim, to newcomer Poison Ivy's choppy and laugh-out-loud-hilarious Joe Budden, to K_H_A's surreal and strange interpretation (WHY IS HE SAMPLING ICARLY DEEP CUTS) of Elephant Man, you are being introduced to so many unorthodox approaches to Jersey Club that are just so damn good. The winner of the battle here in my opinion is AyooLyve's Busta as it seriously feels like final boss music - the key changes, the chromatic inhuman humming that comes in and out during his part, and just the sheer in-your-face ferocity of Lvye's style makes this a ridiculous ending to barnburner of a battle.
A name that should be a lot more synonymous with Jersey Club as a whole is easily DJ Smallz 732, someone who has made some of the most pivotal tunes in the genre's history (folks who were on Vine have to remember this one). Even close to a decade later, he is still making his mark known and proving himself as one of Jersey's greatest, as this Coi Leray remix has been an stupidly viral hit on TikTok, where now, there's even an official video for it. The video for it is a perfect encapsulation of why I love Jersey Club so much - It shows how much of a celebration it is and how proud they are of their unique culture. From the cameos of important club icons like DJ Jayhood, DJ Taj and DJ Bake, to the callbacks to classic Jersey dance moves, to just the fun and joy that emits from this entire video, Jersey and its history is one of one. A banger and video from the North Jersey native that gives much needed flowers to many important figures of a very unappreciated music scene.
Club music nowadays has this tendency to be a constant jolt of raw energy that rains down upon you, which can be outright relentless at times, as it feels like you never have time to breathe. On the opposite side of that spectrum, there's this mutation of Jersey Club that blends dreamy ambient soundscapes with the irresistible grooves of club music itself and it's really starting to become one of my favorite styles in the genre. The undisputed king of that style is Georgia's wolfrum, a teenager from the South who has managed to become a household name in the scene up north the past few years, as their uniquely airy and uplifting approach to Jersey Club is always a treat to listen to. With "alone," wolfrum takes this random somber ambient tune and gives it that Jersey kinetic rush that is undeniable and absolutely breathtaking. Adding in those erratic tempo fluctuations towards the end, it feels like you are just slowly being frozen in time, desperately gazing at everything around you. Incredible and another great addition to this young producer's already stacked repertoire.
I mean come on, it's literally in the title - This isn't false advertising here, as Jersey's deskrat magically transforms the Ashanti classic in such a way where I can barely go back to the original. It's so bouncy, dancey, and I can't stop moving to it even as I write this. A must-listen. deskrat is a fairly newer producer, as they had previous niche internet music ventures, however they really shaped themselves up to be someone to watch this year, as they have boatloads of potential to grow as a producer.
This quick collab shows the spontaneity of how this genre works. For instance, HydroBoi is this kid from Philly super new to the scene, as you can tell that TikTok has had an influence on his recent production ventures. They really caught my attention when I found these batshit insane 220 bpm tanging tunes of theirs that obliterate my entire being, because good lord, you lose your equilibrium by the end! Next thing you know, we get this out-of-nowhere link up between Hydro and Jersey's B Goodie, someone who has consistently been in the conversation of "who's the best Jersey Club producer around" for the past couple of years now. The unlikely pairing results in some of the most energetic music you can find, as this immediately turns your head into a pogo stick, violently oscillating due to the absurd tempo and intoxicating bounce. Plus, you can't stop flailing your arms around as a sorry excuse for tanging and you'll do a days worth of exercise in those 3 minutes alone, so what's there not to love about this???
There's many duos in Jersey Club who wreck havoc every time, but I don't think anyone else does it more harmoniously than Jersey's rrodney and our old friend from earlier, wolfrum, because there's peer-reviewed studies out there stating that these two cannot miss together. I think that a lot of that owes to the fact that both producers have this "subtleness" to their sound, where nothing is too in-your-face and overbearing. However, that subtleness comes from the grooves and chops they create which have this surgical precision to them, so whenever there's a new bewildering bar of ideas being introduced, it invokes this banging-on-the-table-whooping-and-hollering feeling of amazement that makes each of their catalogs so gratifying. With this remix of the middle school dance rager of a lifetime, The Cha Cha Slide, it feels like a 2023 reimagining of the classic designed for the Tiktok-addicted generation of teenagers, a generation obsessed with caffeine and sped-up remixes, but man, does this go. I have to give props to wolfrum for that last half of the song, because I literally have smoke coming out of my ears as we speak. Absurd.
Now here is someone who just came out of nowhere last year and from the absolute start, Jersey's $icko Music has been making some of the most insane club tunes around, as their sound is this chaotic, stuttery mess of high-energy goodness. "SMOKE EM" feels like I'm being repeatedly uppercutted until I am physically outside of our living atmosphere, as he is throwing in so many mind-melting ideas at you, however you never get enough time to properly process them because he keeps introducing newer ones with the intention to kick your ass. Also, do you see what I mean about those stutters he adds in? It's insane! An absolute ride for 2 and a half minutes that you never want to leave behind.
Tang is only 14 years old, but my god, don't let that deter you from the fact of how good he truly is. He has this approach to club music that's so fast and frantic, to the point where it feels like the tune is short circuiting the entire time, glitching and pulsating with its sole purpose to melt your brain. Here, Tang takes the Destiny Child's classic and gives it a fork so they can stick it in the closest electrical socket, because he is throwing these chops and patterns like a bantamweight boxing hitting vaporizingly fast combos on you - It's relentless and irresistible. Also, absolutely fucking insane.
I just had to throw this one in here just for the fact that it samples a Big Time Rush song - It's super short yet incredibly fun and bubbly. Yeah, it's giving more of a "Jersey Club being played on spf420 back in 2013" vibe, but that's what I love about it. Also, shout out Jersey-based producer lvusm aka aia, who has a stellar collection of non-club tunes (especially this baffling Jim Jones "More Than A Hustla" remix that I didn't want to leave out).
Other notable tunes from recent:
An insane remix to the hottest K-pop song right now by one of Jersey Club's most important flagbearers.
Birdman short circuiting at the speed of light for 2 minutes thanks to two of Jersey's best rising producers.
Another crucial figure in Jersey with an irresistible remix to one of the best cuts from the new SZA album.
A lowkey and incredibly dancey Clara La San remix from one of Jersey Club's most underrated producers.
Crank Dat Batman in a way that you have never heard before...
A surreal, bassy apocalyptic destruction of a Disney Channel cartoon thanks to one of Jersey Club's maddest men, Miami's Mg_Burto.
Mariah Carey can't even escape the Jersey rush, as her legendary hit is revitalized by one of Newark's smoothest producers.
Next, we're going to do a really quick rundown of the best Jersey Club albums/EPs over the last 2 months. Not a lot of writing here, but seriously check these out when you can!
Must Listen: Lighters
Must Listen: Let You Go
Must Listen: BRING IT BACK
Must Listen: Take Me There
Must Listen: You Can Hit It From The Back ft. LilSnatched
Must Listen: New jack City
Must Listen: Donk Cruise Control ft. LetsGoYanii
Must Listen: My Boo ft. DJBP609
Lastly, here's a glimpse into the ever-expanding world of club rap
I feel like you are seriously living under a rock now if you haven't ran into someone rapping over club beats lately. From its early rumblings out of Philly, to its emergence back home in Newark thanks to Bandmanrill's dominance over the city, to the shamelessly souless attempts by culture vultures, to the sound being spread far beyond its localized origins, club rap has really molded itself into some serious over the past year or so, rather than being just a flash-in-the-pan fad. Especially in the last few months, thanks to club rap's arguable peak so far "Just Wanna Rock" (a song that should say Mcvertt ft. Lil Uzi Vert), the style is really taking a life of its own, as that mind-controlling Jersey groove is being sprinkled in so many different rap scenes. So, I just wanted to cover a few notable ones that really show how club rap is this constantly-mutating monster that doesn't seem to be slowing down anytime soon.
First, we'll head across the Hudson to see what New York has been cooking up with club rap, and I think something that can be gathered pretty quickly is that they are not full-on taking the club sound, as they are really mixing it up with the already-established drill motifs of the city. It's practically a best-of-both-worlds situation here, as the combination of those 2 frenetic styles were destined for each other. I think that the song that perfectly exhibits that harmony is "in ha mood" from Ice Spice (if you really don't like her music, you really just hate fun (and prolly just a misogynist)), something that balances the danciness of club music with the forceful diction of drill to perfection. Whenever she is effortlessly gliding over those drill patterns, it almost feels like its sole purpose is to build up to those sections where those thumping Jersey triplets are taking over the song, as the entire energy shifts in an instant during those moments, making this the hit that it's becoming, as this is a banger from one of the hottest artists right now ("Actin A Smoochie" from her recent EP is another club/drill sandwich that works so well too - Also that PinkPantheress collab that has been taking over the world as of late). Ms. Spice isn't the only artist in New York mixing the 2 styles on a palette like Bob Ross in his prime, as other rappers like the Bronx's Sha Ek are seamless combining them to create an unhinged barrage of energy that I can't get enough of.
Two other New York tunes I wanted to mention are ones that really take certain distinct qualities of NY Drill and easily meshes them with the hypnotic groove of club music. First, I wanted to mention SweepersENT, this drill collective out of the Upper West Side who have been dabbling with club rap over the past few months, where they are mixing it with that signature dark griminess of drill better than anyone else right now. They've also been doing these From-The-Block-like "live" performances, boasting these murky drill numbers that got the bounce of a booming party down the street. Jay Hound's "Neaky" is a notable one, however, I wanted to focus on member Sdot Go and his performance of "WNA", a song that is just chock-full of different style references and ideas. Not even 20 seconds into it, you feel like you've been kicked in the head, as you've already gotten glimpses of the mysteriously nihilistic tones of drill, the speaker-breaking triplet goodness of Jersey Club, and even slight forceful whispers of baile funk beat patterns. Mixing those 3 energies together with Sdot Go taking confident command over that beat and going off (Yes, he pretty much does sound like Kay Flock if we're being honest), you have something that is super addictive and has you glued to the replay button. As a whole, it feels like you accidentally got trapped in quicksand in the middle of a party and you're slowly sinking to your demise while you are still trying to dance your life away - A nice, darker change of pace, compared to your average, more light-hearted club rap song.
Now this next drill theme isn't super common, but I love whenever there are these drill beats that sample these really cheap guitar tones, where it sounds like the Power Rangers are about to come out to battle, and funnily enough, cheesy guitars are also a reoccurring thing in Jersey Club music, so mixing them together would be a no-brainer. Here we have the Bronx's Kenzo Balla team up with Brookyln's Kyle Richh to make this combination a reality with "PSA", as the guitar here sounds like it's about to accompany a WWE wrestler walking towards the ring, ready to kick your ass. The two, especially Kenzo, have this energy here where they are just relentlessly yelling at you, to the point where parts of your face are falling off one-by-one, however, that forcefulness is necessary to carry this super kinetic club drill monster of a beat, as this feels like driving 120 down the expressway, recklessly swerving around traffic like you're in GTA. I added this to my "Get Sturdy and Tear My ACL" playlist, so play this at a party and see who's the first to strain a muscle, because this is going to get everybody moving. Potential injuries aside, I think the club rap subgenre has properly picked up steam now in New York, and I feel like we'll be seeing many different (and hopefully fresh) interpretations throughout the year, so it should be fun to wait and see!
Now, instead of crossing a river, we are now crossing the entire Atlantic, as the marriage between drill and Jersey club has caught on quite nicely in Europe over the past year. Especially with how drill has taken over Europe ever since the Chicago subgenre was adopted and extended by the UK since the mid-2010s, it felt like the foreign Jersey club influence was going to get there sooner or later, as again, these two styles are just destined for each other, regardless of where it's being made. First, the UK has really garnered some unique artists using the club sound like Nottingham's skaiwater and South-East London's Jim Legxacy, both really fresh and ingenious approaches that mostly stray away from drill and really stand out, however I feel like the situation there is very similar to New York, where it's mostly Jersey-influenced drill, however, the British output is super minimal at the moment. You hear a decent tune here or there, but it hasn't gotten to the point where you are hearing flagship UK rappers like Headie One or Central Cee get on the wave and make it a big deal. However, I think that's just because the scene hasn't gotten that proper hit from an artist to cause that boom, which is, without a doubt, due very soon, as I think that 2023 is the year that Jersey properly invades the UK rap scene.
While the evil Royal Family hasn't learned how to sharp bounce yet, the French have embraced Jersey club pretty quickly and have made it a huge pillar in their rap scene lately. The boom there really started early last year when Parisian rappers like Gambi and Kerchak took command of the club sound and made it something fresh not only to the French, but also the entire world. Out of everyone, the artist who really has taken club rap and made it their own is easily Kerchak, as they have revolved their entire sound and style around that frantic pace of Jersey club, whilst also sprinkling in those hard drill tendencies as well, and it has worked beautifully, as his 2022 release Confiance is easily one of the best releases we have gotten out of this worldwide club rap craze.
The thing with French club rap is that the energy and straight-up feel is just slightly different compared to what we have going on in the US, as the Jersey influence is obviously apparent, but there's this slight afrobeat-ish tinge to it that gives it a uniquely pronounced bounce, something that has been present in French rap for a good while. Just with the way that the syncopation and upbeats in these busy French beats are being accentuated more compared to your average, down-beat-heavy club tune, it emits an energy that feels new, yet also so familiar. Obviously, you can say that the drill influence does have a lot to do with that, but you just have to listen to some of these tunes to actually see what I mean, because it's just a slightly different feel to their rap that I really like.
Two French artists that have been recently emerging as vital artists to their country's club rap boom are Orléans native Trixxo and Parisian Favé, as they have been 2 standouts that look to have huge 2023s. First with Trixxo, the Kerchak influence is very apparent, in terms of flow and energy, but he's really making something of his own here. His must-listen standout is easily his "Teh" trilogy of tracks, as all 3 have this infectious, drive-you-insane forcefulness that is required to thrive in this dancey, fast-paced style. His recent track "Bonbonne" checks off almost every box of the drill checklist, from the theatric choir loops to the frantic hi hat patterns, but ultimately, it's the Jersey groove that glues everything together, as this has you getting sturdy going 200 kph down the autoroute (can you believe that's what they call expressways there). Trixxo really has the confidence and drive to really go on these Jersey drill beats, and I feel like, especially as a non-Parisian outsider, he's really shaping up to be something in France this year. Now with Favé, I really do think this kid has the potential to do something really special not just with club rap, but just French rap in general, as this relatively newer artist already feels like a star. While he has been mostly rapping over standard plugg beats from the start, his recent foray into club rap has seemed to be his big break through the French scene as both "Urus" and "Toxic" are huge bangers that are popping off, as well as this great collab with Kerchak, "Génération Miracle." The singles especially both have this positive, partying-with-your-friends-like vibe that exhibits the pure joy that this subgenre produces, not only for the listener, but also for the artists themselves. "Urus" is probably his biggest song so far in terms of popularity, but "Toxic" feels like his best song to date, as this is just pure, poppy club rap perfection. Like seriously, I can't speak a lick of français, but this is so catchy, it somehow has me belting out that hook like my name is Jean-Pierre Leclerc. Favé reminisces about his struggle with unhealthy relationships while you have this vigorous beat riddled with twinkly pianos, an overwhelming barrage of snaps, and a bounce that could even get Napoleon moving accompanying the young club troubadour. While it's not setting the entire country on fire, it's a really eye-opening glimpse at how this niche culture from Newark, New Jersey has spread outward to greatly influence large cities that are oceans away - Another testament to this legendary genre.
Now if you're still in need of club-influenced rap that can make you run at the speed of light, ATLiens Tony Shhnow and Popstar Benny have you covered with "All The Girls <3," as the two SoundCloud rap staples create this heavenly, up-in-the-clouds journey that really benefits from Benny's infinite uniqueness as he creates this accelerating beat gilded with a layer cake of pop samples, ranging from Gwen Stefani to Mariah Carey, that is just so shimmery and has that signature Popstar Worldwide twinkle that is incredibly irresistible. Even more recently, the two got together with SenseiATL to create "MEETING AT MY PENTHOUSE," another club rap heater that samples the Silk classic, and this is just more high-energy goodness from some of the best artists out of Atlanta's new generation. Now if you want more of a reserved approach to Jersey drill, Surf Gang veteran Moh Baretta has done this really well with his recent tape "UNORTHODOX," as this is 14 tracks of some of the coldest and grimiest interpretations of club rap that I've seen so far from anyone, as Moh's signature nihilistic drawl fits so well over it all. A highlight from the tape is easily the title track, which samples Alison's Halo, one of the most underrated shoegaze bands from the 90s, as the beat feels so empty and stripped down, while Moh accompanies it with this cool carelessness that has made him one of my favorite rappers over the last few years.
Also, whatever the fuck this is lmao