The first time Shuf encountered Ratking they were supporting Death Grips at a dark and grimy club. Performing to a half empty crowd, the trio appeared to stagger onto the stage. With no crowd interaction and in a zone of their own, the performance was short but certainly left an impact. Two years later and coming off the back of So It Goes the trio were performing to a sold out London crowd. Yet nothing had really changed. Rather than an O2 sponsored venue they had opted for a club that had unisex toilets with no doors, and a weekly fetish night every Friday. As the crowd waited in a room so dark you couldn't see your feet, three solitary figures began to wander through the crowd towards the stage. Slowly the realisation crept in that these anonymous crowd members were in fact Wiki, Hak and Sporting Life. Wiki climbed onto the stage with a cup of tea in hand and they began to set up. The audience was still half confused, with a few murmurs and claps the music suddenly started. As Wiki blurted out “ I’m a mutt, you a mutt, yeah we some mutts” it became apparent that Ratking have created a record that a generation can not only admire, but a record that a generation can live within.
The huge success of So It Goes comes from sheer honesty. They embody every lyric and beat they produce. Ratking are not fussed with the showboating and allure that comes with being labelled a rapper. Instead, they strip everything down to its bare bones and allow the music to speak for itself. Representing a new generation of New York, they aren’t using music as a platform to escape but they are creating a community for a generation also finding their feet . On opening track * Wiki tackles teenage angst. “Graduated, whats next? Everybody's asking, What college you going to? What you had planned? We advanced, got our advance, Copped a couple amps, Now we enhanced.” Traveling from failure to rebellion and finally success hasn't been portrayed to this level since the the release of College Dropout. That record inspired a generation and Ratking are at the forefront of this one.
The album cover of So It Goes shows an expansive drawn back view New York City, but littered with thousands of sprawls of streets and alleys. Look closer and you can get lost in the chaos, and this is where the beauty in So It Goes lies. Through the lyricism of the LP, Wiki and Hak are taking us on a subway ride though New York. Sporting Life continues this journey on the production. With the hazy Snow Beach and harsh synths on So It Goes we are also drawn further in through distinct New York sounds, such as the subway and city murmurs that make this record come alive and serve as an embodiment of a modern day New York City.
In a year with no new albums from Drake, Kanye or Kendrick and with Atlanta and L.A scenes certainly making a rise, New York needed a face and identity. The three mutts of Ratking are just that. The combination of Ratking seems tangled and messy, but its this integrity and grasp of a generation that is also scampering through life that causes us all too bump together and unite. Ratking are standing up and causing a problem. ”Think the city has let up? Better check up, Kids that is fed up, Instead of Bitching and moaning, they get buck and get up.”
Words: Jacob Roy