Bas’ Queens-Born Hip Hop Hits Hard


By Ibn-Umar Abbasparker of Indie Band Guru
Bas is a person of multiple backgrounds. He was born in Paris, France to Sudanese parents who later relocated to Jamaica, Queens, New York City when he was eight. The rapper spent his formative years here and it is here that Bas takes listeners with the release of his second album, Too High to Riot.

Despite his mature sound, Bas is a relatively new player in the rap game. He began his rap career in 2010. Over the next three years, he elevated his profile in the NYC rap scene with several mixtape releases and also toured with fellow Queens rapper J. Cole.

Bas Returns with Hard-Hitting Album

In 2014, after signing onto Dreamville Records, Bas released his debut album, Last Winter. Following its release, he went on his own 10-city US tour and an international 24-city tour with rapper Ab-Soul. Now, after two long years, Bas has returned — Too High to Riot dropped on March 4.

In the album’s title track and opener “Too High to Riot,” he expresses his frustration with American society and political forces out of his immediate control. Over a mix of slamming drumbeats, harp chords, and keyboard melodies, he spits contemplative, attention-grabbing rhymes: “Fuck TSA ‘cause I’m too high for flying/Fuck NSA ‘cause the satellites too high/They do all the spying.”

The next song, “Methylone,” draws on Bas’ past experiences with drugs. He struggles to find clarity in a chaotic world without the numbing effects of narcotics. One source of confusion mentioned is the death of his cousin. With lyrics such as “Last week I bought a testing kit/I wish they made them for people,” Bas highlights the jaded suspicions he has developed about people.

Then, there’s the song “Night Job,” a collaboration between Bas and label mate J. Cole.  Here, the two exchange their viewpoints on working hard and grinding to gain recognition in the music industry.

Another cut worth mentioning is “Housewives.” The melodies and beats come together to give the song a somber tone. In it, Bas observes and questions the changes in NYC made by its supposed leaders. As the rapper himself says, “Ain’t no leaders here that we appointed.” The people in the city aren’t being taken seriously and their voices are being ignored. With this song, and others like it, Bas gives them a voice.

Too High to Riot showcases Bas’ expanded sphere of knowledge and versatile rap style. At the same time, it serves as a focus lens for him and listeners to reflect on his past experiences, his current life as a rapper, and what the future holds in store for this promising artist.

Bas’ Too High to Riot is available on iTunes, Google Play, and Amazon.

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