Lower East Side native POLO PERKS and his fellow members of the NYC-based collective Surf Gang are charting an independent course in New York rap. POLO and his tight circle of collaborators have built a following from scratch on SoundCloud over the past few years, and POLO’s new mixtape PUNK GOES DRILL represents their latest creative breakthrough.
POLO PERKS has a drowsy, indirect rap style that blurs the focus of his words. He prefers wandering inner monologues to clear concepts, and the charms of his noncommittal approach reveal themselves through repetition. On this project, his delivery often recalls a stranger on the subway with headphones in, rapping rough sketches under his breath. POLO’s adventurous taste in beats helps bring these sketches to life in warped colors.
PUNK GOES DRILL comes loaded with samples that most rap producers wouldn’t bother with. Surf Gang beatsmiths Evilgiane and Tommytohotty lace guitars from mainstream rock bands like Foo Fighters and The Killers over percussion that takes soft cues from Brooklyn drill. It sounds gimmicky on paper, but these far-flung influences are handled with such care that the final product feels fresh.
Once you’ve adjusted your ears to it, this tape congeals into a triumph of stoned freestyling and bugged-out sampling. My personal favorites are Evilgiane’s flip of “Crave You” by the Australian electronic duo Flight Facilities on “Duppy Drill” and GonerProd’s pitched-up version of “Chasing Cars” by Snow Patrol on “snowpatrol”. PUNK GOES DRILL is hosted by Florida DJ and SoundCloud tastemaker ShokuRadio. You can stream it below.