ABOVE: TOKYO SHAWN
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 most new and 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 deep 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.
Nearly every type of music has found itself a cozy corner on the Internet, but the vast volume of rap found online can be an overwhelming challenge to sift through. And with all the (albeit frequently inventive and exciting) sub-genres out there, the more lyrical content can often get buried-but have no fear! We here at SCOTU (trying out the acronym, seeing it doesn’t really work, moving on) rounded up a trio of tracks that we think effectively combine a classic hip-hop vibe with a new school aesthetic. Check them out!
Tokyo Shawn: “Community Service”
Who: A member of Chicago’s budding artist collective Save Money, young talent Tokyo Shawn effortlessly blends a fresh look and feel with quick-witted flows to make for confident, high-energy hip-hop that still maintains a finger on the pulse.
The Song: Relentless without feeling too confrontational or confessional, “Community Service” is fitting as an introduction to Shawn’s style, with plenty of punchlines and sleek bars. As the rapper mutters his first few lines in a loop before the beat drops, you get a sense that he’s a fighter, shadowboxing in preparation for his first big hit—by the end of the brief track, you’re well knocked out.
Chester Watson: “Phantom”
Who: Rappers know no age limit these days, but that doesn’t make it any easier to believe that St. Louis native Chester Watson is only 15 years old. Making that an even more difficult pill to swallow is his easygoing, convoluted style, one that seems like it should belong to someone ten years his senior. Nevertheless, Watson shows a whole bunch of potential and is sure to give guys his senior a run for their money.
The Song: Backed by creeping production courtesy of Sammsonite and Stricknine, Watson waxes on drive-bys and his own good looks and “ghostly flow” in a hypnotic monotone that lends attention to his encapsulating lyrics.
The Doppelgangaz: “Oh Well”
Who: Having been making music together since 2008, Matter Ov Fact and EP (based out of Orange County, NY) have since successfully toured Europe and performed with established acts like Action Bronson, Nipsey Hussle and Slaughterhouse. Their music definitely sits on the more sinister-sounding side of rap, chillingly (and charmingly) raw.
The Song: This track’s ominous hook features lyrics like, “We’re all going to hell in a handbasket, fantastic,” yet neither rapper lets the song get too heavy—the duo do a damn good job of delivering bad news while still sounding good.
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