@Funkmasterflex @xzachbaronx

It’s a hazy Wednesday evening in New York City, and a song you’ve never heard before is on the radio. It’s got an Otis Redding sample, that escalating bit right before the chorus of “Try a Little Tenderness,” and it’s not hard to recognize the voices rapping over it. Jay-Z and Kanye West are unmistakable from a hundred yards away. But something, or more accurately someone, keeps interrupting them. Explosions and bomb sound effects strafe the audio. The skitch and stutter of a record being wound back repeat over and over again.

Over the chaos of artillery and sample and song, a nasal and commanding voice rises and falls, now incredulous, now enraged, giggling, snorting, almost always shouting:

“New York City, you listen to me! …”

The voice belongs to Funkmaster Flex, but then again, if you live in New York City, you already knew that. Flex (Aston George Taylor Jr. at home, but let’s not think about that too much), is a deejay on Hot 97, one of the two major hip-hop and R&B stations in New York City area. Last Wednesday, the song he premiered was “Otis,” a new single from Kanye and Jay-Z’s oft-delayed and still largely mysterious collaborative album “Watch the Throne.”

That Flex, out of all the radio deejays in the country — and, perhaps more relevantly, out of all the rap blogs on the Internet — was entrusted with the song’s debut speaks to the level of respect he carries in the hip-hop community. But Funkmaster Flex’s prominence in the rap world is not why Jay-Z and Kanye gave him the song. They gave it to him because they knew what he would do with it on the air.

“New York City you listen to me! If you’re near a convenience store right now, any type of 24-hour store, go into the store right now, and put your hand in the cash register for no reason! Their money is your money as of right now!”

Inexplicable criminal behavior is the least of what Funkmaster Flex advocates. The song — whether it’s a closely guarded secret newly let out in the world, or an old standby being hammered into radio rotation once more — is only a sideshow, an excuse. Flex is the main event. Even if that means it’s going to take over an hour of interruptions to get through a three-minute song.

“That’s right, New York City, this has been playing for 30 minutes! OK? And that’s the way it goes down, it’s what it is!”

Flex will make fun of your car, especially if it lacks air conditioning. Flex will suggest to a struggling deejay that he take a picture of Flex’s face, paint it on his own face, and get work that way. This winter, after a particularly bad snowstorm in the city, during which it was alleged that sanitation workers were dallying in cleaning up the mess, Flex put a cash bounty on video footage of sleeping truck operators. Then he dared New York’s trashmen to retaliate by leaving his garbage uncollected.

“It’s Wednesday, and I’m bored! I’m just talking crazy because I’m bored!”

Flex, happily, is bored most nights. He has been known to get incensed about late Chinese food deliveries while on air. If he likes a song, he might play it two, three, four times in a row. Sometimes he’ll cut the record out entirely and do the rapping himself.

But it’s premieres like “Otis,” or “D.O.A. (Death of Auto-Tune),” the Jay-Z single Flex debuted in 2009, that bring out the best in him. This is because they arouse Flex’s competitive instincts, which are fierce. Him having a record first means, by definition, someone else having it second. Which is the thing that excites Funkmaster Flex most of all. You never want to be the “you” Flex spends his triumphant premiere shows addressing.

“Unfortunately you dream about being this hot! You will never, ever, ever wear the crown! That’s me right here! You can clean it, and polish it! It’s the best! Photograph it — digital if you have to! It’s all I can do for you!”

On a lazy, sweltering weeknight in Manhattan, a new song trickling bit by bit out of some nearby speakers, nothing sounds better. Singles are ephemeral. Flex is not.