Hunger Artist and Covito, two of Buffalo hip hop’s most versatile producers have teamed up to keep the city’s current cultural dominance in the forefront with international beats and vibes under the code name Prímera División, and El Sonido de Prímera División is their debut manifesto. Projected through the prism of the global obsession that is football (soccer) and the gritty and hazy ear candy that’s an essential component of Buffalo’s Hip Hop sound, the remixes and sonic collages of El Sonido de Prímera División showcase the inescapable fact that the Queen City’s hip hop scene is the spiritual and aesthetic inheritors of all things East Coast.
Following in the footsteps of sonic pioneers like The Bomb Squad, DJ Premier, and The RZA, Primera Division creates intricate Walls of Sound for each cut to get all the way in your ears, with layers of esoteric samples and psychedelic frequencies designed specifically to tickle your brain. The expertly curated guest list, featuring such luminaries as Pusha T, Joey Badass, Grizelda’s Westside Gunn, and the late Nipsey Hussle and MF DOOM, is extremely well served by Essential Vitamins Crew and Rebel Radio alum Covito (aka J. Vazquez) and underground beatmaker Hunger Artist (aka D. Fisk), whose custom beats and grooves showcase each emcee to their fullest while keeping the spotlight and the duo’s very Buffalo sounds.
Listening to Prímera División’s remixes of local hero Westside Gunn and fallen legend MF Doom’s “2 Strings” or Hail Mary Mallon’s “whales,” with their hyper crisp cymbal crashes, vintage cartoon strings samples, and elegant grittiness, one can’t help but come to the realization that indeed it’s an amazing time to be alive with Buffalo seemingly being the current center of the real hip hop universe. It’s real and it’s happening, and with producers and beat gurus like Prímera División’s Hunger Artist and Covito, Buffalo just might hold onto the title for a while.