Loyalty Over Royalty
As New York City and the rap world at large continues mourning the untimely passing of Pop Smoke, it’s been difficult to determine the next star the city will produce. Staten Island MC CJ might not have been focused on that when he made “Whoopty,” but the breakout success of that record certainly catapulted him into the conversation. Seven months after that track’s arrival, CJ delivered his Loyalty Over Royalty EP, an eight-song sampler of the MC’s NYC drill inclinations, and what we get across the EP is what we got on “Whoopty”: heavy NYC slang and cultural references, CJ sprinkling in the Spanglish common to his Puerto Rican heritage, and a narrative that balances gunplay with hitting his favorite dances. French Montana pops up for “I’m Lit,” but it is otherwise CJ’s show, the MC gleefully staking his claim to the spotlight.