Song You Need To Know: Donnie Durag, “No Laughin”
Prospect Park is pandemonium. In the past month, I’ve witnessed a group of high school kids put on boxing gloves and fight each other for fun next to a couple shooting wedding photos, all while a DJ playing a dancehall remix of Shai’s 1992 hit, “If I Ever Fall in Love,” boomed a few yards away. The park has always been this way, but especially now, there’s a low and eternal hum of calm mixed with chaos. Left to their own devices without bars, clubs, concerts, or festivals, New Yorkers have turned their parks into more bearable Time Squares.
That’s part of the charm of Donnie Durag‘s “No Laughin,” featuring Sky Johnson & HighGrades. The video sees the three rappers performing on the roof of a park building one minute and then situated under a bridge the next — the pond’s unmistakable green algae floating behind them. It’s a low-budget romp with a simple message delivered by Durag about putting the park on the map. It’s an admirable, if foolhardy, goal, considering the park has probably never been this popular in decades. To their credit, the three up-and-coming rappers all play distinct roles: Durag handles the hook with a confident edge, Johnson’s verse is the most melodic and laconic, while HighGrades gravely and dexterous flow helps him secure the song’s best verse. “No Laughin” is rough around the edges, but what part of life isn’t right now?
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