Shawny Binladen had himself a productive Christmas, or as they call it in Woodhull, Wickmas. He dropped his hotly anticipated album Merry Wickmas on Christmas day proper, following up with the Deluxe Edition shortly after the new year. Apparently Shawny asked Santa for a bevy of beautiful samples to rap over for Wickmas and his wishes were granted. On this new album he raps over samples of everyone from Kanye West to Barbra Streisand, the latter of which even caught Pitchfork’s ear. He just dropped a video for the tape’s stand out single “Yellow Tears” where long time collaborator Cash Cobain flips Lauren Hill’s “Ex-Factor” into a yellow drill bop.
As he discussed in an incredible interview with Passion of the Weiss, Shawny and his YTB crew have had the eastern edge of Queens on lockdown for some time. “Yellow Tears” sees the crew taking a late night excursion to Citi Field, dripped out in Dior as they dance in front of the Bullpen Entrance. There are also some particularly gorgeous shots of the crew flexing in front of the The Unisphere, the giant steel globe in Flushing-Meadows Park that was a staple of the 1964 World’s Fair and has become one of the most recognizable symbols of the borough of Queens. It makes sense that the crew whose come to personify Queens rap as of late would choose such an iconic locale for a video. Director Haitian Picasso shot the video pristinely, making the crew look like royalty sauntering through their kingdom. While the ‘64 World’s Fair’s theme was “Peace Through Understanding” Shawny has no peace offerings for his ops on “Yellow Tears” rapping on the chorus, “Trapping and tapping we do it elite, son getting old he about to be three, Bang Bang like Chief Keef, now he three plus three feet” with a fast paced flow that falls somewhere in between a whisper and a growl. While Murda Beats famously flipped “Ex-Factor” for Drake’s 2018 single “Nice for What” the track takes on new life in Cash Cobain’s hands, as natural a fit in this drill context as it was in “Nice for What’s” New Orleans bounce.
Shawny has been on a tear as of late as he seems to be trying to overtake Kevin James’ title as the King of Queens. After an impressive 2020 mixtape run Merry Wickmas is as strong as any tape in Shawny’s catalogue and shows the man still has plenty of rhymes in his book and plenty of flows for lesser rappers to bite off him. If his output in 2021 is as prolific as it has been in recent years he may end up being an even bigger Queens icon than The Unisphere and damn well might turn YTB into the new Ramones.