Today’s Song: Scuzz Ortegé Steps Up to Fight on Debut “Bodies”

Scuzz Ortegé
Scuzz Ortegé

Straight up you know what it is
Rolling through the city with your click

For years, I have immediately thought “black and yellow” whenever I heard the words “you know what it is,” but that’s about to change thanks to Scuzz Ortegé. The Bronx-born artist takes off with those five familiar words and weaves them into a new personal narrative on his musical debut “Bodies,” paying homage to the world of hip-hop he came from while introducing himself as a clever and charismatic force to be reckoned with.

Listen: “Bodies” – Scuzz Ortegé

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A lyrically-charged torrent of atomic and subtle energies, “Bodies” has all the makings of a provocative debut. Scuzz opens with a cold chant, deftly setting the scene atop an ominous and sparse instrumental background: “Alive at 25, homicide, suicide, niggas down to ride, cops down to ride if you still alive.” His words are smooth but crisp; his tone is unforgiving and direct. Scuzz throws open his doors upon first contact, inviting audiences into his life and leaving listeners with no time to catch their breath. “Shit, gotta grind, shit, gotta grind,” repeats the young (but experienced) rapper as the intro fades into the verse. Life is a hustle, and nothing comes easy.

Bodies - Scuzz Ortegé
Bodies – Scuzz Ortegé

One life lesson given and received, and Scuzz is less than fifteen seconds into the song. Not bad for a first impression!

Words are a hip-hop artist’s best friend and first weapon of choice. What you say and how you say it determine how you are perceived and received from the get-go. Every breath counts – not one second can be spared. “Bodies” is Scuzz’s moment to establish himself, and he sets a high bar by diving deep from the onset with complex wordplay and twisting rhymes that take multiple listens to truly sink in.

What are our bodies; what do they represent? They are our literal flesh and blood – our minds are prisoners held captive within their physical shells. Bodies are objects of sex and sexual desire; bodies are our life and death; bodies are individual, yet strong in numbers. Scuzz plays upon these vessels and their many representations, using the body as a metaphor off of which he springboards into various facets of his life.

The metaphor starts with the body as a corpse: Scuzz relates his dedication to friends and family – the clique – while also recounting former allies who, for one reason or another (they, they want you dead / the money go to they head), have since parted from the group.

Straight up you know what it is
Rolling through the city with your click
All about that dough and fuck them hoes is how you live
They they want you dead
The Money go to they head
Them niggas they want the 

Bodies / Bodies / Go and Get It
(Go get it what you doing?)

The backing instrumentation intensifies into a trap-influenced beat as Scuzz hits the chorus, where layers of vocals – some percussive, some theatrical – combine to support his emphatic voice. A semblance to 2Pac (dare I say it) comes to being as Scuzz seamlessly transitions the chorus into his next verse:

Don’t push he not a killer
But you’ll make him reconsider
He picture getting richer
Picture Couple pitchers of gold liquor
Couple chains for them Gold diggers
Do this shit for my old niggas
Just to stunt on my old bitches

The rap is serious, but there’s a delightful love and appreciation for colorful lyricism underlying Scuzz’s words and balancing out his intensity. “I’m trying to get rich till my jeweler my dentist,” he spits later on. He’s witty, but he doesn’t let his comic side overwhelm his art and drive; instead, he uses wordplay and other colorful moments as opportunities to reveal more of his personality.

Scuzz Ortegé
Scuzz Ortegé

And boy, does he have personality. The hard and weathered exterior of a man who had to fight to get to the starting line mixes with a childlike sense of wonder at the possibility for wit and wordplay, allowing for Scuzz to come off with the utmost sincerity even as he spits the dirtiest of lines (give a good, hard listen to the song’s final verse to see how far he takes it).

Scuzz’s personal connection to rap and hip-hop runs deep, and he pays tribute to that by incorporating clever references and licks into his story. Nods to everyone from Jay-Z and Kanye West to Drake pop up – some more subtle than others – as Scuzz recognizes many who preceded him.

But I Started from the bottom popped em
Got em with that new shit
From the slums you’ll get hung by your new kicks
Feds want you dead for the bread get your head lit
And we don’t play boy with that mag like they Hugh Hef

And now, it’s his time. Scuzz Ortegé is standing on the edge of his own art, ready to dive as deep as he can into that vehicle and use it as his driving force until he’s said everything he wants needs to say. “Bodies” is just a taste, a teaser of what’s to come: The lead single off Scuzz’s aptly-named debut project Fight. (due out later this year), the song introduces both an artist and his sound. Scuzz is raw, but he speaks from the heart. Scuzz asserts himself, without downgrading others along the way. The layers of meaning lying within “Bodies” makes it an easily repeatable and fresh listening experience, but Scuzz truly wins in his delivery: What he says is golden, but how he says it is enchanting.

Scuzz Ortegé makes his official entrance onto the music scene a moment to remember. “Bodies” will have you mesmerized from start to finish as Scuzz paints a compelling narrative of his life and the world as he knows it. Scuzz has welcomed us in to hear his story, and we’re listening.

You know what it is: “Bodies.”

Bodies - Scuzz Ortegé
Bodies – Scuzz Ortegé
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