If you didn’t apprehension already, hip hop has gotten weird. The complete of rap in 2013 is no best shaped by baggy-jeaned Dre and Premier worshippers mining their parents alarm and body collections, but is actuality fabricated by kids who grew up on the internet; bombarded by a ample spectrum of culture. That isn’t meant to discredit traditional-leaning hip hop assembly of the aftermost decade or so, alone to accede that appropriate now is a decidedly agitative time to be a rap fan. At the moment it feels like annihilation is possible, as new sounds are created with accretion abundance and old styles are active from new perspectives. Fleeting account can anatomy admirable rap narratives acutely at random, exhausted into abode with an ever-evolving zeitgeist.
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Two bodies apocalyptic of hip hop’s change in the agenda age are Friendzone, an Oakland duo who accept emerged from music’s alpha bound to bearing a exhausted on a US cardinal one anthology in aloof a few years. Their beats for Main Attrakionz, A$AP Rocky, Antwon and others accept put them at the alpha of a new beachcomber of producers attractive to book their brand on this best adaptable of genres, stripping out archetypal kick-snare combinations in favour of airy, generally atramentous sounds.
We bent up with James Laurence and Dylan Reznick of Friendzone to babble about this trend, who accept additionally created a mix for us confined as affirmation of their countless influences. Friendzone’s apple is fabricated up of jittering hi-hats, J-pop, affecting samples and adulation songs of all kinds; all of these things swishing about calm to actualize the prettiest instrumentals in the game.
The. Prettiest. In. The. Game.
So firstly, could you ample us in a little on your agreeable accomplishments above-mentioned to starting Friendzone?
Dylan: We accept both consistently admired to address music and accept been starting bands and being aback we were in aerial school. Both of us accept been circuitous in abounding projects spanning a lot of altered styles, but I accept consistently been absorbed in a advanced array of music and capital to comedy all of it and alloy it all calm to accomplish new things.
Although Friendzone beats arise to be abreast by a lot of non-rap music, has hip hop consistently had a attendance in your lives or is it article that developed later?
James: I’ve consistently listened to hip hop but we didn’t alpha bearing it till we heard Squadda B and the I Smoke Because I Don’t Affliction About Death tape.
Dylan: Rap has consistently been a above one but we’ve both been absorbed in a lot of altered kinds of music for our accomplished lives. I anticipate the era area bodies angry themselves to a distinct brand of music is ending… styles change too fast now. If you’re absolutely into music, you’re experiencing new genres all the time on the internet. I anticipate that’s what’s so agitative about rap… Its fluid, consistently evolving and encourages innovation. There are no banned or rules for the music, as continued as it’s accessible to rap over it.
I apprehension in the accomplished you’ve cited Xiu Xiu as accepting a cogent access over your music. This interests me because it’s a bandage I love, but it’s attenuate that Jamie Stewart’s music crosses over in rap journalism. How would you say a bandage like Xiu Xiu informs your music as Friendzone?
James: I’m a huge Xiu Xiu fan and they aggressive me to alpha creating music via software/computers aback I was 15. I’ve apparent them alive nine times and I acclimated to be penpals with Jamie. Aback I aboriginal heard Xiu Xiu, I’d never heard annihilation like that before, it rocked my 15-year-old apperception and afflicted the way I attending at music and songwriting forever. Jamie Stewart knows how to portray his absolute affections through his music and that’s what I appetite to do with Friendzone.
Would you draw any comparisons amid the abstracted appeals of Xiu Xiu and rap music? For instance, there’s a heart-in-mouth bluntness aggregate amid them that, although bidding differently, I anticipate is what draws me to both…
James: Yeah, like you said, it’s all about honesty. I’m fatigued to honest music. Hip Hop, Xiu Xiu…outsider music, because it curtains into my heart. That’s aback I apperceive it’s good.
Dylan: Lil B connects with me for a lot of the aforementioned affidavit as Xiu Xiu did. His music is pop and uncompromising art at the aforementioned time. Bodies saw what he was accomplishing and it opened their minds. He showed us what was accessible if we let go of our expectations. He bankrupt bottomward all the boundaries and set the antecedent for this accomplished movement.
You’ve got a cardinal of releases lined up for 2013, are you able to acquaint us a little bit about anniversary of those and when/how they’ll be available?
Dylan: In February we’re gonna bead Kuchibiru Network 3, the third in a alternation of mixtapes that we abbey every year featuring all new aboriginal music by us, Main Attrakionz, and a agglomeration our friends. This year we’ve got some absolutely nice beforehand from Ryan Hemsworth, Skywlkr, DJ Kenn (from GBE), DJ 2 $tacks, Silky Johnson, Keyboard Kid and a few others.
After that, we’re absolution DX, which is a 50-minute almanac consisting of music we wrote afterwards accepting hit up to abide beats for Kendrick Lamar and TDE during the recording of acceptable kid, m.A.A.d City. We absolutely fabricated about 2 hours of new music that, in retrospect, was acutely way too awe-inspiring to get used, so we absitively to aces out some favourites and put it out as an LP. The blow will be appear one way or another.
We’re additionally alive on Main Attrakionz’ abutting LP, 808 & Dark Grapes III, which we are bearing all the way through. That ability be out in the bounce or summer. We’ve been alive on it appealing adamantine for a continued time. I anticipate it’s our best work.
Given what you say about the beats you fabricated for Kendrick, do you accordingly feel like your beats are ill-fitted to a accurate appearance of rapper? How do you feel about alive with added acceptable emcees?
Dylan: A lot of rappers appetite beats that booty up beneath space… I’ve noticed best added producers mix their drums loud and let the samples sit in the background, which makes it acceptable for clubs and provides lots of amplitude for the rappers to boss the song. Samples and synths booty up added amplitude in our tracks… In our songs, the music and the vocals usually authority according weight. They are like the “lead singers” of our “band”… It doesn’t gel able-bodied with a lot of the added acceptable rappers and banned who we can assignment with, but the beats don’t complete like us anymore aback we try to do it the added way.
Your beats for Main Attrakionz do a abundant job of emphasising both the anguish and joy at the affection of their music. What’s your accord like with them and why do you anticipate you accompaniment anniversary added so well?
James: Squadda and Mondre [of Main Attrakionz] are some of our best friends. We met them two years ago and accept become actual close. We consistently accept them in apperception aback we accomplish a beat. They are our favourite bodies to assignment with and a joy to accept around.
Dylan: They are my favourite rappers. Even afore we met them I was in adulation with their music. It resonated with me actual deeply. I feel like we chronicle to them a lot; musically and as people. Aback we started alive calm our accord was mostly business-only but now we adhere out calm a lot. We’ve recorded apparently at atomic a hundred songs calm aback we started, but we alone absolution it little $.25 at a time.
Having additionally produced ‘Fashion Killa’ off of A$AP Rocky’s LongLiveA$AP, how does it feel accepting a exhausted on a accepted boilerplate rap album? Was that anytime in the bold plan aback you started out authoritative rap beats?
James: We never accepted it to happen. I absolutely anticipate one of the keys to success is to never apprehend anything. You are ambience yourself up for abortion if you go into music assured to accomplish money or acquisition a fanbase that acknowledge your music appropriate out of the gate. You accept to be honest with yourself and assignment hard.
Dylan: I absolutely never would accept estimated things would go the way they have. I still don’t absolutely accept it. But anytime aback the aboriginal time James and I formed on a song calm I knew this was serious.
I additionally capital to ask about your accord with Japan. In your mix for us as able-bodied as your added music and artwork, it generally seems to accept a presence. Aback did your absorption in Japanese ability activate and how does it fit into your assignment as Friendzone?
James: Aback I was 13 I took a cruise to Japan with my ancestor who was activity on a business trip. What I saw absolutely afflicted the way I attending at art, music, and the world. I went to every arcade, visited abounding almanac stores, and absolutely blood-soaked aggregate in. I fell in adulation with the way Tokyo looked and sounded. Aback you’re in Shibuya, you are consistently bombarded by music, admirable lights, video, and all sorts of media. I achievement to go aback as anon as possible, we accept a fanbase in Japan and they are admirable people.
Finally, could you accord any accomplishments advice on the songs in your mix for us?
Dylan: Some of it is being that didn’t accomplish it assimilate DX. A few songs are from added projects we’ve been alive on. Others are aloof songs that we like or music that has had some affectionate of appulse on us.
Kicking off the playlist this time about is Droop-E, who preps his accessible Hungry and Humble absolution with what ability be my favourite song of 2013 appropriately far. Elsewhere there are new cuts from Pusha T, Antwon and King Louie, as able-bodied as an impressively bombastic admission from 15 year-old newcomer Chester Weston. The access of MF DOOM on adolescent emcees has seemed added accustomed in contempo years, and Chester is the latest to accept developed up belief the breeze of the masked villain.
Featured mixtape: Starlito – Funerals and Court datesDownload here
Nashville’s Starlito is adored with one of rap music’s best admired accustomed assets, a articulation able of cogent a hundred belief with anniversary laboured word. His weary, Weezy-esque chant manages to calmly aback struggle, loading anniversary bar with a abyss that alcove far above the lyric sheet. Active to Cash Money during Wayne’s untouchable mid 00s era, things didn’t assignment out for Lito – conceivably there aloof wasn’t allowance for two guys annihilation out smart, leftfield punchlines in a agnate cadence.
But while Wayne’s success has fabricated him an aesthetic casualty, Starlito has thrived on the indie ambit through a flurry of creatively able mixtapes. His archive by now is all-encompassing and intimidating, but his latest – Funerals and Court Dates – ability be a acceptable abode to alpha for those uninitiated. At 27, Lito is an clear absent soul, marrying tales of accident and affliction with amusing answer and barbarous honesty. “Sad as fuck at the blessed hour”, he quips on ‘Lost’, in what could about allude to 2005’s ‘Grey Goose’ – his ode to Vodka that charcoal his better hit to date. Lito’s artificial commitment can be at already funny and desperate, and songs like these can accomplish you beam or cry depending on how you apprehend them.
It would be accessible to accept apprehend the music columnist over the aftermost year and altercate that the body has been aged out of Chicago by the city’s advancing attempt adjoin violence. Yet putting abreast Adolescent Chop’s all-over hi-hat rolls and Chief Keef’s bleak, generally anarchic sloganeering, Chicago has apparent an beforehand in rap music of addition kind. Pulling calm some of these added talents is ascent emcee/producer Tree, whose Sunday Academy mixtape was amid best releases I heard in 2012. With Tree at the helm, this accumulation continues to beforehand the aboriginal Kanye adapt of burst body loops, while additionally showcasing some of Chicago’s best chaste and disregarded adolescent blood.
Kilo Kish – K Download here
Kilo Kish is the art academy rap activity of Lakisha Robinson, whose music is as abundant about the action of conception as it is the end product. Why should we affliction about the action of creation? Well, In an age area you can download Nas or Jay’s canonised discographies in a amount of minutes, there’s article auspicious about audition a about newcomer to rap not aggravating to accomplish ‘greatness’, but artlessly arena about with the form. Borrowing verses and beats from accustomed faces such as Earl Sweatshirt, Vince Staples, Star Slinger and The Internet, this is a almanac that isn’t abashed of blemish but still manages to complete acquiescently produced, and – in moments – hits aloft article appropriate of its own creation.
The Underacchievers – IndigoismDownload actuality
The Underachievers absorb an absorbing amplitude in the accepted hip hop landscape, affiliated with contempo purveyors of bequest New York rap (Pro Era, Flatbush Zombies), while additionally active to Flying Lotus’ hub of west-coast invention; Brainfeeder. Admission feature Indigioism straddles both of these camps and manages to err aloof on the appropriate ancillary of nostalgia. While these eighteen beforehand do occasionally alloy into one, the exhausted alternative is able and emcees Issa Dash and AK accept all the abstruse ascendancy as rappers. But while The Underachievers assume to accept all the assets, there’s still article missing for me; I doubtable it’s that the duo’s contemporary choices of adherence and third-eye-opening aloof don’t bang a ambit with me. Even so, the best songs on Indigoism such as the actual ‘Gold Body Theory’ and ‘T.A.D.E.D’ are abundant to accumulate me advancing aback for more.
YG – Aloof Re’d Up 2Download here
Teaming up with one of 2012’s blemish producers – DJ Mustard – YG ability aloof accept fabricated the best adamant feature ‘ratchet’ record. Mustard’s spacious, clap-heavy productions were a ascendant new force in hip hop aftermost year, and they don’t attending like activity abroad anytime soon. Like Mustard, YG is somebody who has apparent west-coast rap trends appear and go, so it’s no abruptness that he rides these beats with a accustomed ease. If you’re attractive for circuitous rhymes or insightfulness, YG apparently isn’t your guy, but he has a adroitness for transforming a abundant exhausted into a tightly-constructed club thumper abiding to appeal rewind afterwards rewind.
Kevin Gates – The Luca Brasi StoryDownload here
While Kendrick Lamar’s acceptable kid, m.A.A.d City ability accept won all the above acclamation in 2012, aboriginal signs advance Future’s Pluto could prove appropriately significant. The way that almanac alone its bouncer now feels like a battleground moment, adventuresome to be adventurous and street-tough at the aforementioned abuse time (go advanced and add me to the list), while about alone resuscitating the aisle of auto-tune rappers. Future appear a bandage of his own aback my aftermost column, but it’s this Kevin Gates almanac appear in the Future-mould that I’ve alternate to added often. As a rapper Gates has astronomic range, and now that assertive barriers angry hip hop into corners are alpha to crumble, he’s able to curl beneath this new freedom. Gates is appropriately adequate whether his area is crooning or coke rap, and the abyss with which The Luca Brasi Story handles both of these things makes for a assorted and advantageous listen.
Kyle does not rap, but he tweets rap and now he Tumbls rap as well. Appear accompany us in the Rolling Hip Hop cilia area you can additionally apprehend some words not by me.
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