Soundclouds of the Underground: VFILES Championship Aftermath Edition

Published October 2, 2014

ABOVE: GIANNI LEE

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.

During New York Fashion Week,  VFILES showcased a slew of emerging designers at downtown venue Webster Hall. Following the show the company collaborated with Def Jam and hosted a DJ Championship, featuring three distinct talents who performed competing sets back to back to back. Although there was only be one winner, the three nominees—DJs Karman, Gianni Lee, and Eskay—have been releasing gold medal-worthy music as of late. See some of our favorite new tracks from each artist below.

Ellie Goulding: “Burn” (Eskay Trap Remix)

Who: A Massachusetts-born producer who, at the age of 21, has already covered more ground than most, Eskay has provided brooding trap beats for the likes of Chief Keef, Lil B, Soulja Boy, and Migos, to name a few.

The Song: The prolific artist has 100 songs on his Soundcloud, including tracks with emerging rappers like New York’s Black Dave and Fredo Santana, but this hard-hitting remix of Ellie Goulding’s anthemic “Burn” is a highlight.  Eskay takes the bubblegum-tinged track and gives it a dark, destructive edge, throwing in an OJ Da Juiceman ad-lib to turn things up.Current Project: Keep up with Eskay via his website.

Rae Sremmurd: “No Type” (Gianni Lee x HI$TO Remix) 

Who: Gianni Lee, who ultimately won the VFILES gold, is an impressive Producer/DJ and also happens to be the CEO of successful clothing line Babylon Cartel. With Philly club music acting as his main lane of choice, the artist’s knack for infusing the genre with innovative electronic, hip-hop, and R&B elements makes his sound stand out.

The Song: Here Lee is joined by Baltimore-based beatmaker HI$TO. The two build the track from a smooth, trap-inclined number into an insane club banger, with an attack of oscillating synths, claps, and some big bass.

Current Project: See Gianni Lee’s Facebook page for more info on his music and Babylon Cartel.

Cubby: “Steady Now” (Karman Remix)

Who: L.A.’s Karman has been categorized by many as a member of the “Sad Boys” movement, an aesthetic and musical style spearheaded by Swedish rapper Yung Lean and full of ambient, oftentimes melancholic sounds that simultaneously make you bob your head and grab for the nearest Kleenex. Karman’s become masterful in this realm (although not limited to it)—his tracks a beautiful blend of big sounds and mystical, sensual melodies and samples.The Song: Perhaps more aggressive than past material, Karman’s take on Cubby’s spine-chilling track “Steady Now” finds the producer employing some hard-hitting synths as he shifts between slow and sped-up rhythms. The result is a multi-layered club heater that is equal parts eerie and sexy.Current Project: Stay updated on Karman by checking out his Facebook page.

Soundclouds of the Underground runs every Thursday. For more, click here.