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.
Paul Fisher – Lil Fish
Coming to an artist through a remix can be a bit of a tricky proposition, original identity obscured by the will of the remixer. In some cases, though, the selection of producers and sounds for a remix can tell as much about an artist as the initial production choices listeners only discover later.
San Antonio-bred rapper and Salva collaborator Paul Fisher enters my world for the first time with Lil Fish, a remix album reworking several of his songs with an electronic flair. Featuring Pelican Fly artists Richelle and Lucid and an array of other intriguing producers, Lil Fish pulls from LA and Bay hip-hop (or the Mustard sound, however you’d like to classify it), trap, Jersey club, and a hard to classify but ultimately satisfying palette of au courant electronic music. It speaks to a budding rapper’s eclecticism and taste (and that of the project’s curator DJ Jerry Jones, whose Gold River Show has been a secret staple bringing intriguing club music to listeners on East Village Radio for over two years), and it’s damn good fun.
Far Out Family – “What The / $”
Whether it’s a case of competition breeding creativity or a rare moment of autonomous creators rising simultaneously (or, more likely, some combination of the two), Atlanta continues to grow into its role as one of the four metropolitan pillars of American music (the other three being Los Angeles, Nashville, and New York). It’s a hub for artists of all stripes—rappers, bands, designers, directors—and a truly collaborative meeting ground that breads the sort of ambition that can be hard to come by in more isolated places.
It’s no surprise, then, that yet another imaginative collective is bubbling in the city. Comprising a guitarist, pianist, and violinist in a three man crew that sees two members doubling as rappers, Atlanta’s Far Out Family continues the trend of intriguing talents rising from seeming nothingness. Their new video “What The / $” cinematically depicts a bank robbery, an entertaining and ambitious accompaniment to the group’s sprawling, guitar-driven song. There’s still much room for Far Out Family to develop their voices and particular sound, but the raw material exists for intriguing music.
Chris Fresh ft. ManManSavage and Chip – “Why The Hell” & Chris Fresh ft. Key! – “Perfect”
All of the things I wrote above? See again for producer Chris Fresh of 808 Mafia and his thrilling collaborators ManManSavage and Key! Atlanta is singlehandedly keeping hip-hop fun, exciting, unpredictable, and awesome.
Producers in Atlanta are like the heads on a hydra: One blows up, three more up-and-comers arise to take his place as he chases the pop world in Los Angeles.
pizza boy. – “atlas shrugged”
At this point, my curiosity is too strong to ignore when a new release from the enigmatic pizza boy. hits my inbox. The good news? With each successive drop, pizza boy. seems to be sharpening his talent and his particular performative vision in all its idiosyncrasy.
New single “atlas shrugged” came with the following message:
“i’m preparing to release an EP titled futility. (cover art pictured), which is, at most, a rumination on the pointlessness of existing.
some topics you’ll find discussed in the song:
camaraderie, solidarity, and loyalty
the crutch of pop culture references with regards to the songwriting process
Kevin Gates preoccupation with anilingus“
As ever, pizza boy. delivers on the promise of his email, this time with sharper rapping than before. While the concept of an internet and porn-obsessed emo rapper is likely a bit too much for the average rap listener to stomach, pizza boy.’s music is quickly evolving into some of the more interesting, odd-ball concept rap of recent memory. One to watch for those who like their listening a little left of center.
DJ JS-1 & Dj Spinbad – “ColdCutz Remixes (1996)”
When first conceived, 5 On It was intended as a mixture of up-and-coming rappers and pieces of hip-hop obscura and history. Shortly after the first edition, that concept lapsed in favor of an almost purely “Unsigned Hype”-style column. Every now and then, though, it’s important to pay respect to the architects.
Queens natives DJ JS-1 and DJ Spinbad have each logged over two decades in rap as veterans of radio, performance, production, and, of course, mixing. A little over a year ago, DJ JS-1 posted a collection called “ColdCutz Remixes (1996)” to his Soundcloud with the accompanying message:
“One of the most classic and respected mixtapes of ALL TIME by DJ JS-1 & Dj Spinbad… This is a mix of all blends and remixes done using strictly turntables and a 4-track cassette recorder in 1996… this mix set the bar really high for all mixes that came after it… DEFINITELY something you need to have in your collection… period.”
Now, technically, I’m a bit late on this—it was unearthed in February 2013. That said, it’s only garnered 8309 plays as I write this, it certainly deserves more than that, and if we’re already nearly a decade late on it, what’s another year or so? KRS-One, Wu-Tang, Nas, Whodini, and a slew of others get the remix treatment over a fast-changing barrage of classic beats and a healthy interspersing of classic movie dialogue. The sort of mix that puts the modern Serrato and Ableton-using lot to shame.
Courtesy of GRANDGOOD.