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Fans of influential hip-hop duo Gang Starr will immediately recognize the beat on this track as the music behind “Work,” the third cut on the pair’s 1998 record Moment Of Truth. However, as soon as the vocals kick in, it’s clear that this “Work” is a re-work, courtesy of rising young talent Nitty Scott, MC. Even in a genre whose legacy is defined in large part by creative reappropriation, taking such a venerated track and attempting to make it one’s own is a bold gesture, especially when made by an emerging artist. However, Nitty Scott is clearly up to the challenge.
The Florida-born rapper made her way to the hip-hop mecca of New York City in an effort to launch her career, and “WORK (Grustlin’)” makes it plain to see why listeners have taken notice. Her lyrical style is clever and playful, injecting wit and winks into verses which scamper across some heady terrain. “WORK” concerns itself with the harsh economic realities currently facing Nitty and her peers; her nimble wordplay is respectful toward the subject at hand but offers enough surprising turns of phrase to keep things light.
In some cases, that lightness is even played for laughs, as when she laments, “Eleven dollars for some Newports? Sometimes I think I can’t afford to love New York.” Scott also has a penchant for seizing upon strikingly specific or visual details which paint a scene in a way few rappers are capable of. When she offers, “Make it last, add a little water to the shampoo,” it is a simple, effective allegory for the follow-up: “Landlord knocking and he want the past-due.”
“WORK” was released as a free download on the internet in January and her website indicates that her first full project, a mixtape, is in the offing.