There are a few common preconceptions about New York rappers. Rugged flow, for example. Tales of the street life and hustling. A grittiness that can only be bred up north, whether in the boroughs or on the coldest corners.

Lanz Pierce is challenging the way we expect New York emcees to sound.

Lanz Pierce - Editor's Eye_EP

Pierce – New Jersey born but New York raised – has honed her craft for years. She released her first full-scale project, the Point of No Return EP, two years ago, but it’s Lanz’s sophomore EP, Editor’s Eye, that firmly put her on the national radar. Propelled forward by lead single “Waterfalls,” a bumping track that has Lanz confronting the many facets of her identity (“I’m an artist, I need acknowledgment,”, Pierce raps, “I’m a woman, I need love“), Editor’s Eye caught the attention of VEVO and Sway in the Morning; and generated enough of a following for Pierce to not only hit the tour road with Snoop Dogg, but also headline the BMI stage at Austin City Limits two weeks ago.

So why are we so late to discovering Pierce? Perhaps because beauty – or, really, artistry – is in the eye of the beholder. Pierce doesn’t fit the “mold” of a New York hip-hop artist: she’s a beautiful woman, with a soft-spoken voice. And she sings in addition to rapping, depending on the given track or mood she’s trying to set (like “Do It to You,” for example). Editor’s Eye dares to drop something different into what we expect from the East Coast, and introduces a hip-hop artist that’s fluid and adaptable.

The nine-track EP demonstrates Lanz Pierce’s versatility in every way. She can flow on a scaled back track and yet serenade on the hook in the same breath (“Charge It to the Game”). She can speak earnestly and honestly about family, friends, and who really counts as either (“Trial & Error”). Or, she can play that New York role over thudding piano keys and a tapping snare, as she does effortlessly on current single “You Got It.”

On “Confetti,” Lanz Pierce proclaims at the beginning of the track, “I need greatness – evolution!” Editor’s Eye may not singlehandedly signify greatness, but it certainly affirms that New York ain’t what it used to be. If Lanz’s refreshing sound is leading the change, maybe it shouldn’t be.

Lanz Pierce’s Editor’s Eye EP is available now on iTunes.

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