New York City rap is ever-evolving. The styles used within the music locally began to blend with other regions and genres over the years, leading to a lot of transformations and different eras. The current sound in the city is dominated by the sound of drill, which originated in Chicago, then went to the U.K., and took off in NYC around 2019. The aggressive hi-hats and pounding drums have fueled the rhymes of many Big Apple rappers, and one of the hometown teams is Brooklyn's Winners Circle, the label home (by way of a partnership with RCA Records) of Sheff G, Sleepy Hallow, producer Great John and 20-year-old rapper Eli Fross, the focus of The Break today.
Officially formed in 2019, but existing as a working relationship shortly before, Winners Circle started in drill, but branched out to other, more traditional hip-hop sounds as well as R&B-influenced work to somber, thoughtful songs. But they never forget their roots. Eli Fross' time is now as one of the fresh artists in the BK drill scene. His voice is distinct with a natural bounce to it, which puts him in the zone on tracks where he's focusing on getting bars off. That appeal is sending him up the ranks of NYC hip-hop, when sticking out from the crowd is to an artist's benefit.
In 2020, Eli dropped his first official project, Cesar, with the string-heavy ode "Miracle," produced by Great John. Last year, the nine-song project The Book of Eli arrived. Despite the setback of being arrested for shooting in New York City's Times Square last year, the young rhymer has experienced a respectable uptick on many of his songs. "Steppas Freestyle" featuring Sleepy Hallow, "Mad Max" featuring Lil Zay Osama and "Exposing Me Part II" have all eclipsed 750,000 views on YouTube after being released within months of each other over the last year. Both "Miracle" and "Growing Up Gangsta" have soared past 1 million YouTube views. Several of his tracks are over 1 million streams on Spotify as well. He's moving.
Check out Eli Fross' The Break Live Interview below.
"ISO" featuring Sheff G
"Growing Up Gangsta"
"Steppas Freestyle" featuring Sleepy Hallow
The Book of Eli