• Sam Fleming


We’re recommending a couple of shorter projects this week, but both speak to the depth of New York hip-hop right now. Maassai is a rapper from Brooklyn whose sound is always buried a bit beneath the surface of the beat. On her project C0n$truct!0n 002: The Caution Tape, Maassai spits through a deluge of different feeling noises. The beats truly feel like they are under construction as she is rapping over them.

One of the first lyrics on the tape is, “we the type to question norms” and that is exactly what Maassai does. The tape is a liberation for her and with this project, she is beginning to come into her own as one of the most exciting rappers out of New York. If you are looking for a couple of songs to get you started, check out “Glo in the Dark” and “Mind Urs.” Both songs start quiet then build until they eventually explode.

On “Glo in The Dark” Maassai loudly proclaims, “All my niggas, Glo in the dark/shiny I’m where you can find me if you wanna know where the glimmer start.” This beautiful imagery permeates through the entire tape. All of Maassai’s lyrics are filled with a radical imagination of what New York hip-hip can and should be.

Just a couple of days ago Maassai released her second tape of 2020 titled unsounded points of view. unsounded points of view takes a very different direction than C0n$truct!0n. unsounded points of view is significantly darker. Maassai says that this project “prompted by words created to summarize feelings that are difficult to describe.” On unsounded points of view Maassai attempts to summarize these feelings through music. The song “sounder” perfectly encapsulates this mission with lyrics like, “who we know, we don’t know they’re a pain.” This project is Maassai’s attempt to understand the actions of others.

Look out for more Maassai releases in the future. She is pushing the New York sound forward and so far, everything she touches turns to gold. Maassai has worked extensively with the collective SLUMS which includes groups like Standing on the Corner and rappers like MIKE, so if you like these projects you should take a minute to check them out too.

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