ABOVE: ISAIAH RASHAD
These days, music truly lives online, with an infinite number of websites dedicated to hosting tunes for the laptop-wielding masses. However, the web’s bottomless pit of blogs isn’t the only place to troll for mp3 treasures—some of the newest and most exciting (Internet-friendly) artists can be sought out via Soundcloud, the online stage that allows musicians to promote and distribute their music to fans and friends across the globe. In this weekly column, expert Internet sleuth Alex Chapman goes into the depths of the music-sharing site, in hopes of shedding light on emerging acts, as well as sharing some digital diamonds in the rough.Some artists burn out nearly as soon as they start—an epidemic made worse by the world wide web. Other artists work to create longevity within their ever-expanding brands, a mission for which the Internet can act as a huge advantage, especially when it comes to creating famous crews and artist-run labels. When a musician reaches a point of popularity, he or she will often attempt to familiarize listeners with another talented member of their team, sometimes sharing the act on their own personal Soundcloud, automatically getting the attention of the fans and friends that frequent it. Today we celebrate that strategy with three successful introductions to the freshest new artists via some of our established favorites.
Who: A member of Drake’s OVO crew, PARTYNEXTDOOR seems to sit somewhere between the strange and shadowy R&B sounds of The Weeknd and Drizzy’s more delicate takes on R&B, like the soft-spoken “Marvin’s Room.” PND (real name Jahron Brathwaite) combines a taste for hard partying and wild girls with sultry vocals and an alluring honesty.
The Song: “Come rely on me for sex, keep your thighs in line and hold on,” PARTYNEXTDOOR deadpans in “Muse,” a tantalizing track the artist wrote and produced himself. The song never strays too far from its light structure, but this seems to be the singer’s intention—the groove becomes hypnotizing in its consistency.
Current Project: PARTYNEXTDOOR just released “Muse” along with another track, “Candy,” featuring Nipsey Hussle. Check both out (along with the artist’s self-titled debut) via PND’s website.
August Alsina: “I Luv This Shit”
Who: Recently signed to The Dream’s Def Jam imprint Radio Killa Records, August Alsina is another R&B singer who creatively melds together the crude, the pretty, and the real. Songs like “I’m Gone” find the talent waxing on getting messed up and getting some, whereas “NOLA,” a captivating track off Alsina’s year-old mixtape The Product, addresses the talent’s life in New Orleans.
The Song: Putting an expletive in the title of an R&B song is no easy feat—singing can oftentimes soften the blow of a curse word, creating a wonky disconnect between the listener and the track (one of the only people to avoid this problem is The-Dream himself, known for throwing quite a few curse words in his lyrics). But Alsina’s voice has the strength to give “I Luv This Shit” the bite it needs, and a guest verse from Atlanta’s Trinidad James tops it all off.
Current Project: The up-and-comer recently released a remix of “I Luv This Shit” with R&B heavyweights Chris Brown and Trey Songz—check that out and more via Alsina’s official website.
Who: Rashad is one of the newest members of rap conglomerate TDE, home to hip-hop’s hottest, Kendrick Lamar, along with Schoolboy Q, Jay Rock, Ab-Soul and more recently SZA, whose been featured in this column in the past. Rashad has a twisted rapid-fire flow that Kendrick fans will no doubt enjoy, but the Tennessee native has his own swag, as proven with the Chris Calor-produced “Like That.”
The Song: “Shot Me Down” is being positioned as the rapper’s big time debut, which makes sense given the song’s power (and the incredible video, which shows Rashad in aerial views of his hometown Chattanooga). Over a slithering beat, Rashad proclaims his aspirations to be the best, and we can’t help but nod along in agreement.Current Project: Learn about what Rashad and the other members of TDE have going on via the TDE website.
Soundclouds of the Underground runs every Thursday. For more, click here.