5 On It: The Best Under-the-Radar Rap This Week

tumblr mylg7ksrdK1rdm2epo1 1280 5 On It: The Best Under the Radar Rap This Week

5 On It is a feature that looks at five of the best under-the-radar releases in rap from the past week, highlighting new or recently discovered artists, or interesting obscurities.


vann 5 On It: The Best Under the Radar Rap This Week

Image via Vann

Vann – “Something More” & “Heat .II”

Earlier this week, Constant Gardner forwarded a submission from our submissions email to me. We had a quick back and forth: Was it compelling? Were we hearing the same thing?

The consensus: Yes, Vann’s “Something More” was intriguing, if perhaps still leaving a bit to be desired. Building on an airy, driving beat, the 21 year-old Boston-born Atlanta resident raps like a student of hip-hop’s young heavyweights (bits of Kendrick and Cole, certainly). Personal and “conscious” without being preachy, “Something More” feels like a solid building block for a rapper still finding the most compelling lenses to refract the world around him.


calvaxxin small 5 On It: The Best Under the Radar Rap This Week

Image via Calvaxxin

Calvaxxin – “Gritty [SNIPPET]” & “VHS/Vague Place”

Though it’s occasionally frustrating, there’s something to be said for the approach that hip-hop titans DOOM, Madlib, and Dilla often employed: Kicking song structure to the curb in favor of fragments, snippets, and sketches. While it can frustrate those looking for traditional structure or who like to let ideas linger a bit longer than three minute at a time, it’s often the best platform for concepts that don’t warrant a full runtime, making for memorable moment’s like DOOM’s “Rap Ambush” and the vast majority of Dilla’s seminal Donuts.

Virginia rapper (expect to see that combination of words over and over again in the next year or two) Calvaxxin treats the snippet as his canvas, whether intentionally or unintentionally finding ways to make the most of one and two minute fragments of music. He seems heavily inspired by many of the aforementioned (with a dash of the Flying Lotus‘ recent Captain Murphy experiment also looming) and while it doesn’t seem like he’s settled on a clear voice or organizing principle yet, his Soundcloud serves up an intriguing early window into his creative process.


mic kurb 5 On It: The Best Under the Radar Rap This Week

Image via Mic Kurb

Mic Kurb – Destination Nowhere EP

As documented across a number of posts, cross-country crew Alive Since Forever is one of the more intriguing young outfits in hip-hop, a post-Odd Future collection of rappers, producers, directors, visual artists, managers, and thinkers–only a handful of whom can even spy the legal drinking age from where they’re standing, let alone actually drink.

Perhaps one of the crew’s most gifted pure rappers, Mic Kurb is also one of its rawest talents, a voice still looking for a place to properly settle. New EP Destination Nowhere provides the most complete picture of the 18 year-old rapper yet, another building block in the group’s story and a reminder that so much of the development process that used to happen out of the public view is now writ across the internet, as much a part of the experience to be enjoyed as the music itself.


wafeek small 5 On It: The Best Under the Radar Rap This Week

Image via Wafeek

Wafeek – ERA

What began as an EP (released last July) for L.A.-based rapper Wafeek has morphed into a 13 song project featuring Killer Mike and a collection of smart, sharp rapping. The production is sample based and decidedly-’90s-leaning, but Wafeek has a flow that finds interesting pockets in even the most straightforward beats and a voice that lends weight to his wit.


eludem weird 5 On It: The Best Under the Radar Rap This Week

Image via Eludem

Eludem - “clapseason volumen.sleep” Mix

In keeping with last week’s format of four artists and a mix, here’s a wonderfully weird screwed mix I found in my Soundcloud travels from a producer named Eludem. Bouncing from King Krule and Mount Kimbie to Hypnotized Minds to Smif N’ Wessun to Busta Rhymes and through all sorts of other odd and seemingly unrelated musical worlds, “clapseason volumen.sleep” is a hazy journey that reiterates a) screwing works for all different sorts of music, b) hip-hop’s aesthetic influence has continued effect even beyond its musical influence and c) Soundcloud is an exceedingly strange Internet territory.

Light something potent and lose your mind one time to “clapseason volumen.sleep.”