King Draft is hip-hop recording artist originally from Plainfield, New Jersey, but he’s come to admirably represent independent hip-hop in the Triangle. In March, King Draft and four other local rappersKonvo the Mutant, $wank, Kelly Kale, and (J) Rowdytraveled to New York City to compete on BET’s reboot of Freestyle Fridays.
There, he wasted no breath whatsoever proving that he’s a smooth-flowing, lyrically oriented rapper in the mold of Common and Talib Kweli by delivering clever bits of braggadocio such as, “If you rainin’, I be a storm/I’m king, and you be a pawn.” The young emcee has lofty goals well beyond a brief appearance on cable TV, however.
As he told this year’s Beats N Bars Festival host Domo during a YouTube interview, Draft wants to put out platinum-selling records and win Grammys. But he’s not there yet: So far, Draft has released four full-length recording projects, including two under the moniker The Kingdom with longtime producer Jerm Scorsese. The studio efforts have earned the duo props in hip-hop circles, but they’ve yet to break through to wider audiences.
Even so, their music is certifiably solid. Jerm masterfully samples old soul and hip-hop records and constructs unique sonic backdrops for Draft’s raps (see 2015’s Kingdom Come). Jerm often favors classic elements such as soul vocals and humming organs, but he’s equally liable to lay down hypnotically menacing trap beats. The collaboration proves fruitful again on Two Eyes, a seven-song collection that dropped in June. On “Resurrection,” Jerm mashes up seemingly disparate sounds to build a dark and complexly layered instrumental track that leaves just enough space for the methodical bars of Draft and guest rapper $wank.
If Draft keeps this up, listeners beyond the Triangle are bound to catch on.