NYC’s own rising urbano name Messiah just dropped a full-length collaboration with Power 105’s DJ Flipstar with the mixtape Ya Era Tiempo Vol. 2 – just in time to take over the Heights’ radio airwaves this summer.
Messiah tackles current hip-hop sounds across the US just as much as he explores homegrown sounds from the Dominican Republic; it’s really a portrait of Washington Heights’ beautiful, self-owned, in-betweenness as much as it is a hybrid urbano take.
The mixtape stays true–through-and-through– to Messiah’s assertion that “de la calle soy un narrador,” his bold declaration in “El Narrador.” Just as he takes on a cover-en-Español of Future’s “F*ck Up Some Commas” and a drill music rip on “Tamo Lindo,” he goes headfirst into soft-edged, melodic reggaetón romántico on “La Costumbre” featuring Don Miguelo, and “Mi Amiguita” with Jory Boy. “Amor Bipolar” stretches rap over a slowed down merengue urbano beat, while “Un Hombre Normal” takes it back to the dembow riddim roots for a dancehall-inflected remix.
Messiah inadvertently demonstrates that NYC is still the urbano capital outside of Santo Domingo, as he taps dembow staples in the city’s circuit like normally hyper-speed El Mayor Clasico for “Como Lo Capo,” or international name Farruko for guest verses on crossover twerk track “Chapi Chapi.” With transnational connections comes the transnational beef, which appears on “Como Yo” featuring De La Ghetto, referencing some words exchanged on las redes between Messiah and Toxico Crow regarding the former’s opinion of Lápiz Consciente as one of the papas of rap dominicano.
Ya Era Tiempo Vol. 2 is a textured, versatile take on the urbano mixtape format, though the question remains whether it rises above genre tropes to forge a Messiah sound truly its own.