Falling in love with the city hasn’t been an easy feat for rapper, producer, and Bushwick local, Passport Rav, who moved to New York City in 2015. With the exciting release of his newest track, “Fanciest Negro in Bushwick,” Rav, captures his experiences with gentrified surroundings and how it has affected him. The track is part of his most recent album, which laden with live instrumentation, giving listeners a jazz feel, edged with ‘90s hip-hop flow.
Originally from Essex County, NJ, Rav had always been influenced by “old Brooklyn,” along with artists like Kanye West, Nas, Roc Marciano, Freddie Gibbs, and Alchemist. Known to be the birthplace of some of the greatest rappers alive, Brooklyn has since changed, becoming a gentrified hub that has almost eliminated the culture of hip-hop and its origins entirely.
Rap being a powerful and well-delivered artform that validates the stories of the black community and their history—including institutionalized racism, poverty, and colonialism—it has become the perfect medium for Rav to express his thoughts.
As a musician, Rav deliberately uses his platform to share his connection with black history, current events, fly talk and his love for black women.
His music reflects his soul and he longs to communicate that to his listeners, “I love to sprinkle ‘bars’ in there with witty lines and living my form of lavishness but at the end, I will always have a message.”
Although gentrification has both affected and inspired his music, Rav cannot deny or justify his anger of experiencing racism and profiling on a day-to-day basis. He describes scenarios of people asking him if he lives where he does, while simply sitting on the stoop of his Bushwick apartment building because there have been robberies in the area.
His experiences have made him realize that not everyone comes from diverse communities or know how to live in one. Blatantly other’d left and right, Rav has bravely directed his anger into song format, taking his experiences and using them to share his reality, “Someone may have called me a ‘fancy negro,’ being one of the few black men that live on the block. This is how the ‘Fanciest Negro in Bushwick’ came about,” he said.
Rav wants to continue his work by travelling the world spreading his message. Although his current goal is to perform and show people that “dope hip-hop still exists,” he wants to expand his reach for more vulnerable communities, “I can see myself going beyond the music, even writing books and doing seminars for black youth.”
“Fanciest Negro in Bushwick” is now available for streaming and purchase here.
Photos courtesy of Passport Rav.
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