“As the New York City street rap renaissance continues, it seems like new guys are coming around every corner with a banger. Enter Rah Swish, whose latest song, ‘Treeshin’,’ is a stereo system’s dream: bass-heavy, belligerent, and demanding to be cranked to max volume.” – Pitchfork
“New York’s Secret Weapon” – Kazi Magazine
Rah Swish bleeds Brooklyn. Canarsie isn’t just a name drop, it’s home, and drill music isn’t just a trend or phase, it’s all Rah knows. It’s family, life blood, moving with pride and purpose, surviving and thriving in a world that’s been cruel to people like him.
The story goes like so many others’ from the Brooklyn drill scene. Born and raised in a big, underserved family that had to put in twice the work to put food on the table. Grew up playing football as a promising young wide receiver and cornerback before an injury derailed him. Constantly listened to 50 Cent, Jay, and Biggie, who reminded him that better situations were possible. Moved out his mom’s crib early and did anything to make ends meet. The struggle.
From that struggle came deep, life-affirming friendships wrought with the covenants of brotherhood. A few of those friends formed a rap group called Never Broke Again, later called Swish Gang, in 2014. From the jump, they knew Rah Swish was their best MC, and all it took was a song for the city to take notice.
For every “Welcome To The Party” that goes supernova, there’s a handful of incredible drill songs that are massive in Brooklyn but never make the national leap. Rah Swish’s “Debo” was one of those. It came out in January 2017 (ancient times in Brooklyn drill history) and immediately made a local impact, racking up over 600,000 plays on YouTube and establishing Rah as a singular force. He styled over the gothic instrumental, deploying a lean, athletic flow with the kind of metronomic precision that takes years to perfect.
That was when the Brooklyn drill scene was still nascent. 22Gz had just dropped “Suburban,” Sheff G hadn’t responded yet, Pop Smoke hadn’t touched a mic. Rah Swish came from that primordial stew, that initial class of teenagers post-GS9 who were listening to Herb and Keef and realizing they were living the same lifestyle.
The years passed and Rah Swish kept trickling out quality singles, including drill standards like “Back Up,” “This N That” and “Treeshin.” Real life caught up to him during those formative years, keeping him away from the studio for stretches, but he made every session count. By the time he dropped his debut tape Look What They Started in late 2019, Rah had already established himself as a force within the movement.
Then, tragedy struck. On February 19, 2020, Pop Smoke was murdered in Los Angeles during a home invasion. NYC had lost its best rapper in decades, and Rah had lost a close friend. Practically a blood brother. You can trace their bond through the music — collabs like “Double It” and “Brushem” that showcase their preternatural chemistry — but it was always deeper than rap. They’re both from Canarsie — everyone knows everyone there — and they came out the trenches together. When Pop started rapping, he went to Rah for feedback, sending him drafts of early songs like “MPR,” and from then on their friendship only deepened.
Following Pop’s death, Rah released a moving tribute called “Left Hollywood” that details their come-up together. Then, after a period of mourning, he dropped “Woo Forever” and announced his new EP of the same name, set to be released this summer via WOO Entertainment/Empire. On that single, he raps, “Lost Pop and the pain hurt / Tryna stay focused, I drink on this liquor and take Percs,” but on the whole, the EP feels more like a celebration of Pop’s legacy than a gloomy memorial. This is excellent drill, first and foremost, the fine-tuned work of a 22-year-old who is already considered a veteran and OG by his peers. Rah Swish will probably always crank out formal, platonic-ideal drill in the way that Tim Duncan always hit his low-post hooks. But there are signs of evolution, too, a peek into where the sound might go. “We Can Do It” is the first time I have ever heard a drill serenade. Destiny’s Child meets the Woos. Rah’s take on Pop Smoke doing a Fabolous “Into You” cover. It’s genuinely weird and entertaining, a reminder that while drill has made the headlines for its underlying tragedy, at its core it is about freedom, dance, and young people doing incredible, innovative things in the studio. The scene may have lost its superstar, but Rah is making sure that the future of Brooklyn drill is bright.
Rah Swish Carries the Flame for Pop Smoke on WOO Forever Project
Rah Swish Pays Homage to Hype Williams’ Belly with New Short Film
BK Driller Rah Swish Follows Up His Local Hit with “Tongue Out (Treeshin’ 2)”
Pop Smoke Associate Rah Swish Announces WOO Forever EP