Flatbush, N.Y., native 22Gz, a pioneer of the exploding Brooklyn drill scene, displayed his uncanny lyricism with some rapid fire word plays on a recent Funkmaster Flex freestyle show on New York’s Hot 97 radio station. The 22-year-old rapper, who beat a 2017 charge of murder in Miami, started out by rapping over fellow Brooklyn star Fivio Foreign’s viral “Big Drip” beat. His freestyle dripped with references of Brooklyn landmarks like Ebbets Field, the one-time home of the Brooklyn Dodgers, the Marcus Garvey housing projects, and the Barclays Center — proof that Brooklyn runs deep in his veins. While still keeping up with the drill vibe, he then launched some tongue-rolling rhymes about the Patriots and Aaron Hernandez, the former football star who was convicted and sentenced to life for murder. “Throwing Bullets like the Patriots but what I’m airing(Aaron) makes me wanna hang it up.”
22Gz — or “the Brooklyn drill general,” as he called himself on air, a nod to his OG-ness — broke on the New York scene in 2017 when he dropped his hit song, “Suburban.” It was one of the earliest Brooklyn drill beats that soon impressed music fans and industry professionals, and his sound even caught the attention of hip-hop front-runner Kodak Black. In 2018 Kodak Black signed 22Gz to his label, Sniper Gang Records, an independent label that operates under the Atlantic Records umbrella. Kodak Black is currently sitting on a 46-month prison sentence, but 22Gz is keeping the label alive by dropping new tracks such as “Sniper Gang Freestyle” and “Suburban Pt. 2.”
While freestyling on Hot 97, Funk Flex’s scrunched up facial expressions and constant looks around the room, showed that he was clearly feeling 22’s rhythm. It is exciting to see this growing trend of drill rap emerge from Brooklyn with new artists like Pop Smoke and Fivio Foreign. But let’s not forget about the “general” and the others like Sheff G and Sleepy Hallow who helped put Brooklyn drill on the map.