A few months back, we profiled BX rapper Daytona, a young dude with a gift for wordplay (and threads) who was as eager to rap over some dancehall as an old Dr Dre instrumental. At the time, all he had out was a white-label 12″ and a single mixtape hosting gig, but Daytona’s just popped up again, speed rhyming over Timberlake and Timbo’s “SexyBack” (now that’s coke rap for you) and releasing his first solo mixtape, Happy Land Social Club. We just got copies of Happy Land in the office and it smokes: Diamond D and Chi Ali freestyles (uptown, baby!), Tona originals, and – of course – a cover of his Ghostface namesake. Check for it at a mixtape emporium near you, and check our story on dude from F38 after the jump.
Fly Or Die
Daytona changes the style up
By Nick Barat
Monday afternoons aren’t really renowned for flossing, especially when you have to go to work. But laying back between takes on a couch in lower Manhattan’s Beat Box studios, South Bronx MC Daytona is crispy in a baby blue cashmere sweater, boxfresh Adidas with baby blue laces skipping every other hole and a sideways hat with camouflage trefoils in the exact matching hue. “I do fly, uptown hip-hop—where people look at you like, Yo, I wanna be that kid,” he says. “A lot of New York, they like, I’m the hardest, I’m the toughest. I want to bring it back to when everybody was having fun. Everybody from the streets, we all experienced the same kind of things—but Big Daddy Kane and Slick Rick were wearing three-piece suits.”
On a recent mixtape with DJ L, Daytona is even more explicit with his fashion advice—“I see y’all on DVDs looking dirty. Step your fits up, nigga! What you know bout Tom Pink?!” But Daytona doesn’t need to rap his shopping lists to stand out from the crowd. His debut single “All Dem” is a mesmerizing blend of hip-hop and dancehall, featuring a chanted chorus from the late Bogle (“I’m West Indian, I’m Antiguan—I’ve been going to dancehall clubs since I was 12,” he says) alongside preternaturally confident, cocky lyricisms. His voice is nasal but never pinched, and so nimble that he half-sings throwaway lines like “What up my duuuuuuude?” almost as if by accident. When that flow pops up again on the tipsy “On The Corner” and turns the McDonald’s “Ba da, ba ba ba…” jingle into a killer punchline, you realize it’s not a mistake. When the flow is abstracted even further on “Church Clothes”—a guitar-riffed Miami Bass banger you might expect from Andre 3000 or Eminem Show-era Marshall Mathers—it becomes clear that Daytona doesn’t intend to stand out so much as blow into a different orbit entirely.
“A&Rs would hear [‘Church Clothes’] and be like, ‘This song is crazy, but where’s your groundwork—you can’t just go to superstar status overnight,” he says. But influential radio and club DJ Cipha Sounds “saw the vision” and promptly signed him up. Since then, they’ve been carefully leaking music to make sure Daytona’s style doesn’t go over people’s heads, while getting major spins for “All Dem” on Hot 97 and securing high-profile opening gigs for the likes of Rick Ross and Chris Brown. Yet even without a powerful DJ in his corner, you get the impression Daytona would still get by on swagger alone. On another mixtape interlude, he declares, “I’m the only nigga out who can go to Xbar, get my dimelo loco on with my Latin niggas, on Sunday go to Speed with my street corner niggas, then on Monday go to Butter and chill with Lindsay Lohan and Mary Kate and Ashley. Yo—catch up to me!”