Back in 2014 an 18-year-old kid from New York stopped Kanye West on the street and dropped a freestyle for him. The video of the encounter went viral, and Aaron “Simbaa” Howard scored features on Complex and other media outlets for his efforts. Simbaa pushed on, dropping his debut mixtape Ssips: A Sample Story later that year. Over the last two years, Howard has gained a sizable following, continuing to impress with singles on his Soundcloud.
After two months of silence, Simbaa returned this week with a new track, “Before Your Prime.” Simbaa spits over a truncated instrumental reminiscent of the New York rappers of years ago. He is unrelenting, spitting for a straight minute before letting the beat play itself out. “Before Your Prime” is a short but eloquent demonstration of Howard’s talent. He shows considerable refinement in style since spitting for Yeezus in SoHo, but certainly has a huge ceiling to continue to grow. Could Simbaa prove to be as big as the hype around his sidewalk freestyles with Kanye? Judge for yourself; stream “Before Your Prime” on Soundcloud below, and check out Simbaa’s debut project while you’re at it.