Gnarly Ant, a newcomer to the Pittsburgh hip-hop scene, recently released his debut EP, Basement Tapes.
Gnarly Ant brings a youthful energy to the project, his around-the-beat flow reminiscent of a less hyperactive Blueface. On “187,” a track built around wooly, blown-out trap production, he manages to discuss gun violence, suicidal thoughts, lustful exploits, and social pressures, all in the span of 87 seconds. Gnarly displays an unusual level of honesty for someone so young when he admits to a would-be foe, “She like it when I say I’m about to cold kill ya/So I gotta pretend like I’m about to cold kill ya.” “But it’s ok to pretend!” he adds, a worthwhile point to keep in mind for those who like to blame music for causing violence (*cough, fuck you, Ben Shapiro, cough*), rather than lax gun laws, structural racism, or any number of actual problems. In all, Basement Tapes is an engaging entry in the city’s hip-hop ecosystem.