By Grant Golden
December 18, 2020
It’s rare to find a track that changes the narrative in a state’s music scene, but G Yamazawa’s sensational 2017 single, “North Cack” did just that. With a viral one-take video, an unforgettable hook, and Yamazawa’s dazzling wordplay, it’s clear why “North Cack” captured everyone’s attention.
While Yamazawa had been living in California since 2014, his music perpetually reps North Carolina and his hometown of Durham. “North Cack” racked up millions of plays across multiple platforms, proving to be the biggest NC anthem since Petey Pablo’s “Raise Up.” Within the past month though, Yamazawa has moved back to Durham and dropped a brand new record, Durham vs. Everybody, which closes with a remix of his breakthrough single.
Much like anything worth its weight, the “North Cack” remix is only as strong as the sum of its parts, and Yamazawa pulled together some of the state’s finest emcees for this track. Coming strong out of the gate, Carolina hip-hop heavyweight Petey Pablo sets the pace for this five-minute lyrical relay race. “Got the hometown covered like a tall tee,” Pablo raps, “rep the same way I did when it was all me / Now I’m out here on the court and got a whole team / ’Bout to get another plaque and a gold ring.” Pablo’s verse is a tone-setting start to the track that also features Jozeemo, Kelly Kale, Jooselord, G.R.A.C.E, Ox Omega, Kourviosier, O.Z the HitMaker and Lord Fess, closing with a verse from Yamazawa.
It’s good that this metaphorical barbeque plate came packed with sides, because all of the guests on this track are hungry. O.Z’s verse stands out with lines like “Yamazawa told me jump on this beat and go nuts / I salute ‘em but I’m mad at ‘em, eight bars ain’t enough,” Jooselord calls back to his title of Moshpit Messiah, “Now they screamin’ my name, I make it sound like church service in here,” and everyone generally does their damndest to “out North Carolina” each other.
That’s what makes this track so special. While each artist showcases their own sense of character and flow, they’re also unabashedly throw up love for the Tarheel state. With references to WUNC’s The State of Things, meta lines about fellow guest artist Petey Pablo, The Wright Brothers, Cameron Indoor, and more, rarely a line goes by without some infusion of North Carolina love.
Accompanying this bonus track comes a video that’s directed, shot and edited by Yamazawa. The video clearly represents the city of Durham and highlights each contributor in a unique way. In it we see Kelly Kale casually kick it on a porch, a visual pairing for her effortless lyrical excellence, while Lord Fess leans back in darker hues while packing multisyllabic professions of greatness.
As the video closes with Yamazawa rapping atop Durham’s iconic King’s Sandwich Shop, it’s clear why the music world was so captivated by “North Cack” in the first place. With his brief verse on the “North Cack” remix, and his work on Durham vs. Everybody, Yamazawa proves that he’s an artist with drive and vision, painting an impactful picture of a progressive and thoughtful future lined with old Southern imagery. In a perfect parallel for Yamazawa’s nods to the past and emblazoned path forward, he closes:
“Petey put us on the map, [but] I had to bring it to the bull.”
Watch the music video for the “North Cack” remix by G. Yamazawa featuring Petey Pablo, Jozeemo, Kelly Kale, Jooselord, G.R.A.C.E, Ox Omega, Kourviosier, O.Z the HitMaker and Lord Fess. Listen to G. Yamazawa’s latest album Durham vs Everybody.