Give a fuck about my sneakers, I was raised in the creek/Where the luxury of weepin’ ain’t available, you see

During its peak period (let’s say 1996 to 2001), Atlanta’s famed Dungeon Family crafted a perspective and sound unlike any other in hip-hop. In turns earthy, futuristic, and soulful, artists like Witchdoctor, Society of Soul, Cool Breeze, Goodie Mob, and, of course, Outkast blended street savvy, world-weary wisdom, mysticism, a dash of us-against-the-nation paranoia, and descriptive narratives to forge a lane that would influence artists as far flung as the Cunninlynguists and Drake, Big K.R.I.T. and Kendrick Lamar. Though many have taken bits and pieces of flows and production techniques, it’s rarer to see artists channel the sort of knowledge-beyond-years observations that marked the rhymes of Outkast and Goodie Mob in their younger days.

Nothing’s on time/Everything’s on schedule

While Atlanta’s EarthGang craft an eclectic set of sounds–at once backwards leaning and modern, a mixture of dusty samples and 808 Mafia thump–it is the looming spirit of the Dungeon Family’s uniquely informed perspective that differentiates free debut album Shallow Graves for Toys. While the duo is still figuring out a cohesive sound, album standouts “Ultra Rare,” “No Peace,” “UFOs,” “The F Bomb,” and “DJESUS IS BLACK” showcase a style firmly planted in the work of Atlanta influencers while carving out vivid, contemporary perspectives. It’s a diverse listen that bodes well for the future, the sort of coolly adventurous project that dips a toe in a variety of pools without flaunting its exploration as accomplishment. Dive into EarthGang’s world below.