Sayonara, summer. We're sorry to see you go! OK, maybe not. This was one long, hot, crazy summer, chock full of record heat waves, worldwide social upheaval and too many political shenanigans to even list. But on the upside, Nashville saw a lot of hot new hip-hop artists hit the scene. Here's our round-up of what you might have missed while you had your head in the sand waiting for sweater weather.
We get a lot of trailers for a lot of mixtapes, but usually they're functionally just a warning to steer clear of said mixtape. Not so with the trailer for Gray's debut mixtape Shade of Gray. Minimal and understated, it's the very opposite of the mixtapes featuring shiny, shouting displays of rented cars and borrowed stacks of cash that we're used to receiving. The tape itself was just as much a breath of fresh air as the so-uneventful-it-was-really-exciting trailer, crammed with deep funk, tight rhymes and an impeccable flow. Tracks like "Doin' My Thing" — which was accompanied by one of the best videos to ever come out of the Nashville rap community — and "Just Blaze" showcase an artist well ahead of the curve.
You know how sometimes when you're on Facebook you just start clicking on things, and then clicking on more things, and then eventually you forget about what you were looking for in the first place but find something better instead? That's how we came across G@metime's video "Starry Eyed," and we're thanking our lucky stars for the serendipity. Combining spaced-out synths with a big, wompin' dubstep beat and a confident, catchy flow, this Solo Cup Gang associate manages to make a club-ready banger that's actually listenable in the harsh light of day. We can't wait till his Rollerblades & Rose mixtape drops this fall.
Call It Dope
While we may have had our first run-in with pop-leaning rap duo Call It Dope this winter, this summer they were everywhere: backstage at Bonnaroo, sneaking into Ke$ha's sound check, shooting the shit with Second Avenue character Spinner Man. They even did their own shows! It seems these guys were popping up at every hot club night and one-off party that's gone down since Memorial Day, which isn't surprising considering the charm and character they pour into every cut. Their latest single, the cheeky "October 8" — about opening for the openers who opened for the openers who opened for newly famous Kanye prodigy Big Sean — is self-effacing and honest in a way that few rap tracks are.
Last of the Horsemen
For the sake of full disclosure, we should mention that Last of the Horsemen's Kid Dead is the brother of an old friend's wife. Of course, we had no idea about the admittedly tenuous connection — we've never actually met, or y'know, talked to each other — when we first heard LOTH's apocalyptic oddball raps. And it probably wouldn't have mattered anyway. These kids are tight no matter who they're related to. Playfully misanthropic and willing to delve deeper into the dark side of the human brain than just about any crew in town without ever getting into the laughably inane "horrorcore" territory, Last of the Horsemen make violence fun again. They also sample The Andy Griffith Show theme, though we're gonna venture a guess that Andy wouldn't approve of the stabby lyrics that go a long with it.
Not be confused with the SoundLand festival-headlining Mississippian MC Big K.R.I.T., this British-by-way-of-North Carolina transplant and Belmont student has one of the most unique vocal timbres in the city right now. Which probably has to do with his English-meets-Southern accent, but whatever. When you pair a unique voice with a taste for both classic and modern beats, you get one exciting new talent. His flow falls nicely between U.K. grime and classic Southern fast-rapping, giving tracks like "Untamed," "Get Some Sleep" and "Underground" an international flair that we don't hear a lot around these parts. Keep your eyes on this kid. And for that matter, make sure you keep an eye out for Belmont University's rising class of new rappers.
The link seems to be down. And by the way how come nothing about Lincoln…
Thanks Lance.. Let us know if you wanna come out tonight on us... Anthem
This is the first time I've heard "Chicken in Black," so I'm no apologist, but…
no d-pat, it's "fun with a 'k'"