Although he’s always been a niche concern to the wider world, Cormega’s reputation and the records that established it—particularly his official 2001 debut The Realness—are particularly revered within hip-hop. This wasn’t because of his devotion to the surface-level aesthetics of his era, as it was for many of his peers. His delivery was never the genre’s most technically lucid, and his beats, while consistently strong, were never the type to earn the kind of gushing hyperbole directed at “golden era” boom-bap. Instead, he was a rapper whose core tenets were more elusive, abstract: the ethical quandaries and compromises of an illegal hustle, the strain on a person’s character, the game’s true moral dimension. On the Large Professor produced “Rap Basquiat,” the Queensbridge, New York native delivers with the same lyrical ferocity that we’ve come to expect from the rapper’s golden days. The track comes from his upcoming Mega Philosophy, due out July 22 on Slimstyle Records. Stream “Rap Basquiat” below.