Your Old Droog & Tha God Fahim, “Tha YOD Fahim”

Your Old Droog & Tha God Fahim
Tha YOD Fahim
SELF-RELEASED
7/10

Some rappers just sound good over gospel and soul samples. There’s probably some science behind the way voices interact, but being a writer and someone who failed high school biology, all I can say is that Your Old Droog and his classic New Yorker voice sound absolutely delightful over a dusty vocal loop. His latest release, a tag-team affair with Atlanta emcee and producer Tha God Fahim titled Tha YOD Fahim, is the sort of low-stakes boom-bap that’s always a welcome addition to any rap fan’s digital collection.

Deeming something “low stakes” doesn’t correlate to a project’s success, and after the infinite noise that surrounded YOD’s early releases, it’s really nice to see him just dropping projects for the sake of getting his work out to fans. It’s his second project with Fahim this year―they dropped Tha Wolf on Wall St back in late January―and it smoothly builds on the chemistry they established on that first tape.

Droog had about as monumental of an introduction as one can imagine when he released the song “Nutty Bars” way back in 2014. The song generated a massive amount of buzz due to some folks spreading the rumor that Droog was actually Nas rapping under an alter ego. Droog did little to dispel those rumors, which didn’t help his case among hip-hop devotees (let’s be real for a second…if you were struggling to gain attention, and one of your songs got popular because people thought Nas made it, you probably wouldn’t be so quick to shoot down the falsity). After the dust cleared, it was revealed that Droog was a Ukrainian kid raised in Brooklyn who loved MF DOOM and Big Daddy Kane. It quickly became clear that Droog could really rap his ass off regardless of whether or not he also happened to be one of the top five rappers ever in disguise.

Fahim and Droog have been spitting together for a while, and on Tha YOD Fahim, they trade bars like a fireside blunt or a bottle of Olde English. On opener “Icee Shop/Entrées,” Droog comes in first, his voice aggressive and thick, like the vocal equivalent of busting your fist through a wall. It’s not subtle, but it hits hard. The two work so well together because they tailor each beat depending on who’s on the mic. On the opener, the sample flips when it’s Fahim’s turn, and he’s the Ghostface to Droog’s Nas. His voice floats with its nasally range, and Fahim’s a bit looser in his delivery, more interested in exploring variations on a theme than Droog, whose cultural references know no boundaries. 

“Slam Dunk Contest” features Pharoahe Monch and is a clear standout halfway through. It’s an emphatic reminder that no matter how loudly these youngins trifle, Monch can still roll through and destroy anyone on the mic. “Thirteen with a mason jar and some Jim Beam / So tell these children to chill, I’m still the illest workin’ the scene,” he raps—perhaps Fahim and Droog are drinking whiskey instead of passing around the malt liquor as previously stated. Forgive me.

Regardless of what they’re sipping on, Fahim and Droog always bring a good time. The balance of playfulness and seriousness is a hurdle so many rappers stumble over, but these two emcees bite and laugh with ease. Sure, it doesn’t make the same noise that Droog once emitted by simply staying silent, but at least now everyone knows exactly who he is.

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