5 On It is a feature that looks at five of the best under-the-radar rap findings from the past week, highlighting new or recently discovered artists, or interesting obscurities.
Pimpton – “All Men Are Mortal”
Saskatchewan rapper Pimpton describes “All Men Are Mortal” as:
“a monologue juxtaposed on a prayer for the highest level of success. Throughout the song Pimpton discusses his goals and struggles, his personal victories, and also voices some concerns regarding his future, expressing his intention for his music to persist through time even after his own death. The song wraps up with a prayer for moderation in which Pimpton expresses his fears of succumbing to greed and excess. Concluding that all humans are subject to temptations of greed until their time of death.”
It may very well be a pointed meditation on greed and humanity, but what you’ll likely notice first and foremost are K.E. On The Track’s insane beat and Pimpton’s unusually animated rapping. It’s a combination that immediately hooked me, but also makes it difficult to pay attention to anything more than those two in-your-face elements for the first few listens. Sounding like some sort of lost, slower-paced Bone Thugs member, Pimpton’s rapping is unhinged in the best way, a style that’s certain to turn some off—which also can be an early sign of someone with a potentially original voice.
And if you can’t handle the rapping, stay for the massive beat.
Meet Orlando’s teenage rap crew Weirdos Forever Forever Weirdos
With the ascendence of A$AP Mob and Odd Future, and the solidification of TDE as rap’s next empire-to-be (they’re not peak era No Limit or Cash Money yet, but they’re certainly at the head of the pack), the last few years in hip-hop have pointed to strength in numbers as a solid way forward for young artists. Groups will always have stars and standouts, but there is now a greater understanding that sharing resources and ideas can not only lead to better creations, but can also create the impression of an impending storm, something growing outside of the public’s view. Multi-state collective Alive Since Forever and Baltimore’s 9BMC (more on them momentarily) are examples of this gestation, young talents passing inspiration back and forth and forcing one another to improve.
Orlando has never been known as a hip-hop hotbed, but local crew Weirdos Forever Forever Weirdos–a collective of either seven, eight or, nine 16-20-year-old artists (a press release says seven, their website lists eight, their Soundcloud calls them “an Orlando based Hip Hop collective consisting of 9 YOUNG KING$” but lists eight names–King Sav DGAF, Marco Bravo, Keano $pitta, Ace the Pharaoh, Arthur Reed$, BZA, Cammo, and Dre Wit Ya Bae)–seems to understand the importance of aesthetics and cultivating ideas as a group. While the music is still developing (crew member Marco’s “Ghoul$,” which you can watch below, feels high on style but undercooked on the content side), there’s a charisma, charm, and creativity that make them worth keeping tabs on.
Listen to WFFW’s year-old debut tape Whatever Fits Four Words below.
Witty Rock – Ornery
A few weeks back, Baltimore’s JuegoTheNinety first popped up on my radar and provided a new perspective on his city’s hip-hop, experimental and brash, occasionally unpleasant, and incisively critical without falling into the negative cliches of conscious rap.
After I posted Sonny September, Juego emailed me about his crew, 9BMC, which comprises Witty Rock, JuneYa, Automatic Foxx and producer/rapper Ralph French–the sort of email that typically gets at least a slight eye roll. That’s not to say I don’t like receiving these sorts of messages, more so that one developing rapper opening the door for his crew more often than not means lesser quality coming in after him.
To my pleasant surprise, Witty Rock’s Ornery is another indicator of 9BMC’s potential and imagination in motion. Released almost three months ago, Ornery isn’t quite as dark and aggressive as Juego’s recent album, but it’s equally clever in spots and varied in its production choices (courtesy in large part of the aforementioned Ralph French, the man who may prove to be the crew’s backbone), tied together by Witty’s personal raps.
Sirius Blvck ft. John Stamps & Oreo Jones – “Bill Murray”
Say what you will of Mustard’s beats–recognizable in their shared scarcity of elements and instantly memorable melodies, often only consisting of a few notes–it’s difficult to deny that he has been able to wring massive success out of a decidedly limited formula (though one that has room for pleasant surprises and certainly makes for some productions that are catchy as hell).
“Bill Murray” sounds like a Das Racist song produced by DJ Mustard, with the tongue-in-cheek raps of Sirius Blvck, John Stamps, and Oreo Jones bouncing across a beat that would typically be reserved for turn up, plain and simple. It’s not a revolution in sound, but it is a likely indicator of Mustard’s influence and a reminder that innovation doesn’t always need to shout in your face or make you uncomfortable–it can invade your radio through pop culture first and spread from there.
Conrizzle – “Aleister Crowley”
Sometimes all it takes is a beat.
That’s not to say that Richmond, Virginia rapper/producer (and Drake collaborator in the days before the Toronto rapper’s ascent to musical Olympus) can’t rap. Nor is it to say that new single “Aleister Crowley” isn’t sufficiently strange and interesting, juxtaposing fairly familiar lyrical concepts (addressing amorphous enemies, bragging) with famed British occultist Aleister Crowley (the song’s namesake) as left-field inspiration.
It is, however, to say that “Aleister Crowley” succeeds in large part due to its anthemic beat–the kind you’d love to hear all sorts of different emcees rip (and one that a rapping producer would be wise to keep to himself).