On paper, a New York City rapper who is as recognized in Scandinavia as he is on Sutphin, who is not afraid to compare himself to Xena the Warrior Princess, and who names his album Bringin’ Da’ Yowzah!!!, might raise curious eyebrows among the current crop of young hip-hop enthusiasts. But battling closed-mindedness in hip-hop is a big part of the mission that Cee-Rock “The Fury” is on, as evidenced by his recent !Handzup!/Turmic Records release.
Fury is a member of the NY hip-hop purist mindset, constructing a very listenable release that is musically and lyrically nostalgic, but avoids sounding dated. Reviewers have conjured up legendary names when discussing Yowzah!!!, naming production great Premier and vocal giant Biggie Smalls, and while these kinds of comparison often end up being severe overstatements, there are definite similarities in terms of Fury’s beat selection, punchline-driven flow and vocal timbre. If nothing else, Fury emits New York hip-hop with every beat, song and in conversation, easily resisting any urge to follow current musical trends in an attempt to reach a wider base. He is refreshingly committed to stay true to his vibe, and by doing so, hopes to reconnect listeners to the fabled combination of boom-bap and lyrical agility, often forgotten staples of New York styled rap music.
“That’s me right there, man. I have to have that backpack, head-nod type of thing,” Fury explains. “Cats is missing out on that now. I’m trying to keep it in their face. I don’t want them to forget the essence of hip-hop.” And to that extent, Fury succeeds, even while wandering off the beaten path and finding a worldwide audience among those who appreciate a more throwback-sounding experience.
A chance conversation with his long-estranged brother led Fury to distant shores of Sweden, carrying the unmistakable aura of US hip-hop swagger in his wake. Finding an eager audience in European countries, Fury grabbed the international hip-hop scene by the horns and has strived to make a name for himself wherever the opportunity presented itself. As such, Cee-Rock’s bio lists the UK, Denmark, Sweden, Norway, Finland, Slovenia, Hungary, Dublin, Lithuania, Latvia, Germany, Austria and South Africa as the countries where he has unleashed his lyrical fury, careful to never stray too far from his native New York hip-hop sound.
Fury is quick to state that this outlook is not a gimmick, but admits it is a conscious, purposeful desire to stay true to the school of hip-hop, that schooled him. This helps with the international audience, who is often more receptive to more traditional, old-school-ish hip-hop presentation. “It’s not a gimmick. It’s definitely an angle, it’s beneficial. There’s a lot of people over there that have that New York sound than cats over here because they were so into it, they studied it so hard.” Having his management company based in Sweden allows Fury to set up tours which take advantage of the close proximity and relatively easy travel between European countries, putting him in front of multi-national audiences who are appreciative for the chance to see a talented, energetic performer from the States. “The last place I was at was South Africa, for two months. They did a big magazine thing on me, and I was on a television show that 5 million people got to see.” An impressively far cry from the streets of Queens where his craft was first honed.
It is clear in speaking with Fury that he is a connoisseur of hip-hop music, an analyst who will espouse on the virtues of being able to bring a song to life (“Freaky Tah, rest in peace, he did something for the Lost Boys, those are my local cats, Linden Boulevard. It’s something that he brought to the track. You play a song without it, it don’t really sound like a Lost Boys track without him.”), the ability of New York to regain its stronghold on hip-hop music, (“It’s gonna come. I guess it’s that they are putting out the same exact formula. I guess got to repackage it different. It’s there, but if you wrap it good, and have the right team behind it, and the proper A&R…”) and the failing of New York radio to sufficiently support its own, (“We need a station that focuses again on the real hip-hop, and not just try to make the dollar.”) With all of these issues, he speaks as a student and a teacher, one who is very well versed in the subject matter, and equally eager to discuss, dissect and debate how to fix any perceived problems with the direction of the music, and the culture as a whole. In conversation, as well as on standout tracks such as Time to Detonate and stop-the-violence themed Kill Da’ Killin’, Fury is ironically most effective when communicating non-furiously.
With his countless collaborations, performances, attitude and respect for the history and culture of the music, Cee-Rock “The Fury” continues to reach out to current fans, attempting to reel in those who are unfamiliar or previously dismissive to undiluted Linden Boulevard styled boom-bap, in the tradition of hip-hop purists and those who do what they do, for the love of the art form. “I teach lessons sometimes, or give people little things that I’ve come to know, so they know what time it is.” Fury explains, summing up his ability to put on for his city, whether it is actually in his city, or in a foreign country. “And who else can you get it from besides someone who lived it? Long live hip-hop, you know? Wherever you are.”
Cee-Rock “The Fury” – Anderson Iz Nice
Cee-Rock “The Fury” – Kill Da’ Killin’
Beats and Styles: Straight Up (feat. Cee-Rock “The Fury”)