Surp God initially grabbed our attention for his light hearted raps that conveyed a wise beyond his years and a talent for song writing. Although he’s been releasing demos and tracks on soundcloud nonstop for a while, God is definitely the most realized project he’s put out to date. God demonstrates just how much producing know-how Surp has gained with the production taking front stage over his verses. Experimenting with vocal effects and ambient textures, God sounds equal parts influenced by Houston chopped’n'screwed music and cloud rap with Surp rapping in a pitched-down voice if he’s rapping at all. Shifting beating noisy walls of sound and soft, decaying drones, Surp God is working with the kind of experimental sonic pallets that are defining noise-rap groups like Clipping. I definitely wasn’t expecting such radically experimental material on from Surp God and I will definitely keep bumping this on my headphones for a while.
Color Plus is no stranger to producing instrumentals for rappers, that’s his role in Ghost Row which has consistently been putting out great tracks, but Color Plus’ beats in the project differed from his solo work. To fit Chef’s style in Ghost Row, Color Plus toned pack the heavy atmospherics of his work on Cerulean Dreamand it worked really well, but for a Sidewalk Kal, a rapper who seems to have an affinity for experimental beats, Color Plus decided to bring the ambience back. The beat for “BLEU” has heavily reverbed and manipulated guitar strumming that recalls tracks like “Only.You” and Kal’s relatively energetic vocals sit on top of it perfectly, adding to the beautiful contrast in energy Color Plus likes to create between his drum tracks and his instrumentation. Over the past few weeks Sidewalk Kal has been releasing tracks prolifically featuring beats from some of the best beatmakers on Soundcloud, and I don’t know if he’s planning on putting them all into one project or not, but for now its definitely worth it to follow his Soundcloud Page.
Although most people are confused by this, when producing Lil Ugly Mane goes by the name Shawn Kemp, which makes perfect sense to me (why wouldn’t you want to share a name with the greatest basketball player to ever walk this planet?) One of the few rappers Shawn Kemp has worked with is San Jose emcee Antwon, and for good reason. Antwon has an on point, old school flow, and a voice that sounds like it was destined for rapping. On “Lap of Luxury” Shawn Kemp’s production sounds a little bit more like the trends of the past year than in his Lil’ Ugly Mane work (the chorus sounds a lot like something Clams Casino might have put together), but its still definitely unique, like the rest of his discography. Antwon hasn’t been in too many high profile positions other than his feature on Mishka’s awesomely ambitious “Hyperbolic Chamber Music” from earlier this year, but after recently receiving a nod from Earl Sweatshirt himself, I’m sure people are going to start taking notice.
Blog-buzz subgenre cloud-rap isn’t a style that I would expect to hear from Freddie Gibbs, who has managed to stay relevant without riding any trends, but his experiment with ambient beats on ‘Kush Cloud’ makes me hope this isn’t the last we hear of Freddie in the clouds. As expected from a track called ‘Kush Cloud’, the instrumental is an airy piece of ambient synths and piano chords that is only held down by the sharp 808 drum track. The instrumental also provides a surprisingly good platform for Freddie Gibbs and Krayzie Bone to go in with plenty of flow switches and great wordplay. Spaceghostpurrp is clearly right at home with the beat and steals the track with his verse at the end that works with plenty of internal rhymes and a hypnotic cadence.
For the first 20 seconds of ‘Evoking Spirits’ I was convinced that Kingdom Crumbs was just another bedroom producer making electronic music akin to 2009 era chillwave. Then the vocals kick in sounding like some mystic MC over the cosmic plane of warped synths and warm bass. We are used to cloud rap, but this stuff is like astral gas giant hip-hop. ’Evoking Spirits’ is my first introduction to the experimental hip-hop quartet that is Kingdom Crumbs and the Shabazz Palaces indebted style is really winning me over. They just dropped their debut self-titled mixtape which everyone can (and should) download for the cheaps over at their bandcamp. If you like your hip-hop experimental with a side of high-as-kite production (and visuals in the case of this video for ‘Evoking Spirit’) Kingdom Crumbs is your cup of tea.
Ever since they dropped their cloud-rap opus 808s and Dark Grapes II, Main Attrakionz have been putting out a steady stream of solid material to satiate us cloud-rap junkies. While it’s all been good, ‘Do it for the Bay’ is one of their freshest tracks and a proper return to form for the best duo ever. The Harry Fraud produced instrumental is an upbeat collage of synths and horns that has Main Attrakionz and guest rapper Davinci spitting with more energy than their established norm. ’Do it for the Bay’ is our first taste of their upcoming LP Bossalinis & Fooliyones which is set to drop on October 22 on Young One Records and if they keep knocking it out with tracks like this it’ll definitely be a an album to watch out for.
Whenever you hear any blogger mention the burgeoning genre, Cloud Rap, these days, you almost always hear Main Attrakionz’s name mentioned in the same sentence. The Oakland duo’s ability to create simple vocals to match up to even the most atmospheric beats they get without interfering with the track’s feel has gained them a lot of success over the past year. Now Oakland producer OSØ has added even more cloud to one of Peter’s most quoted rap songs “Perfect Skies”. OSØ’s new beat ironically sounds more like floating through a chaotic storm than perfect skies with tense pulsing synths and eventually extremely distorted melodies towards the end.