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.
Mari Gordon – “Flicking My Wrist”
It appears that 2015 is going to be a very big year for songs that sample Super Mario.
While Mari Gordon’s “Flicking My Wrist” might not follow quite the turbo-charged trajectory P&P favorite D.R.A.M.’s “Cha Cha” seems poised for, it sticks in your head with its just-familiar-enough tweak on a meme-ified chorus and its sunny, classic-video-game-sampling beat. It doesn’t feel like a true song—one verse flanked by two choruses and closed out by a screwed portion—but it’s an unpolished, enjoyable two minutes and twelve seconds.
BANKX – “Low”
Milwaukee rapper BANKX’s “Low” continues the 16-year-old’s emerging pattern of stylish, melodic, ostensibly Drake-inspired rapping and production choices, a worthy follow up to debut single “4sho.” It still leaves a bit to be desired in terms of originality and substance, but it’s an indicator of BANKX’s gift for inviting melody and his strong ear for beats. At very least, a solid song to throw into your Drake/PartyNextDoor/I-want-to-have-sex-but-I-also-might-cry playlist.
Pronto ft. Turls – “ICANTGOLIKETHAT”
The first time I featured Georgia rapper Turls in 5 On It, I downplayed his single “My Plug.”
Over the next few weeks, “My Plug” proved to be like a sort of brain parasite, lying dormant in my mind before creeping up on me weeks later. Certain songs exist as sleeper cells, distant echoes in the background radiation of the brain that trigger unexpectedly and then become inescapable.
When the P&P team was gathering our favorite new artists from April, I dug back into 5 On It‘s past and remembered “My Plug.” The song returned with a vengeance, hooking Confusion and Constant Gardner and becoming a steady undercurrent of every night of my May. It might not become a true hit record, but for the P&P staff, “My Plug” is every bit the song of the summer it could and should be—and probably is in an alternate universe where blogs dictate which songs sell millions of copies and I get paid hundreds of dollars per word and also people still buy and actually value things. A boy can dream.
“My Plug” hinted at Turls’ talent. His collaboration with Frvr Wstd crew member Pronto, “ICANTGOLIKETHAT,” suggests that he’s surrounded by talent and that he might play a part in a song that bubbles up from the catacombs of the Internet.
In sound and repetition, “ICANTGOLIKETHAT” closely resembles one of last year’s should-have-been hits, Father’s “Look At Wrist.” Pronto handles the first verse and mesmerizing hook, while Turls shows versatility beyond the hypnotic monotone of “My Plug.” It’s simple, it’s immediate, it’s another catchy song for the Georgia collective’s arsenal.
_Z_ – Stretch 4
The NBA Playoffs near their conclusion, so there’s precious little time left for well-produced, amorphously basketball-inspired, sneaker-commercial-sampling indie rap from Minneapolis.
Thankfully, _Z_ is here to save us with Stretch 4, a four song EP with a title and cover that reference one of the NBA’s most popular current player types (the power forward that can also shoot from long distance) and provide a mildly absurd context for a well-executed, lo-fi project peppered with basketball references and able rapping—both particularly abundant on all-too-brief standout track “Scepter.” Stretch 4 feels like one of those ephemeral gems that was much more prevalent in the genesis of rap Tumblr, an odd project with no obvious reason for existence other than that someone decided to make stir the pot of influences and make it.
Donny Murakami – “Killer” & “I’m So Brutal”
It’s been a solid stretch since I came across anything I could comfortably describe as “riot music”—perhaps my favorite made up sub-genre of rap, even if it’s only occasionally appropriate (read: every time I am alone in my car).
Donny Murakami’s “Killer” and “I’m So Brutal” do a solid job of announcing themselves before you press play, demonstrative titles that leave little room for surprise once each starts. “I’m So Brutal” in particular feels more like rap-inflected, washed out punk—a crossroads of N.E.R.D. and Death Grips—than hip-hop proper, a stomping, blasted minute and eighteen seconds that should come with a pop-up mosh pit wherever it plays.