King Fantastic

Twitter: @kingfantastic

Pros: Their fluid brand of gangsta rap/synth music is a refreshing break from the norm. Plus their video for “Why? What? Where?” has a lot of nudity.

Cons: They’re known for starving their fans of new material, they're style can be a bit off-putting

Essential Listening: Finger Snaps and Gun Claps

Comprised of rapper Killer Reese One and DJ/producer Trouble Maker, the rap duo King Fantastic’s personal description of their debut album Finger Snaps and Gun Claps as “a concise study in Westcoastsynthesizerbeachbumgangstermusic,” gives you a little insight into what they’re about. They’re a little bit of the good life veiled behind gritty street rhymes and aggressive beats. Although unusual, this description is very fitting for two dudes who rep Venice Beach, a city known more for its consistently idyllic weather and ocean front boardwalk than its crime rate.

Nevertheless, the pair have etched out an interesting new lane that has allowed them to take their act to So-Cal’s electro-inspired Audiotistic festival and secure a spot on Murs’ straight hip-hop Paid Dues festival without raising any eyebrows. Marked by heavy drums and bass and punctuated by lyrics that hit like a barrage of bullets, the duo have exhibited a special skill for merging the electro sound with the streets without sounding lame or forced.

They’ve even demonstrated an ability to do this with the most alternative music, making artists like Johnny Cash and Nina Simone sound G, and not even in the Jay-Z and Linkin Park mashup kind of way (check their remixes of Bassnectar’s “Bass Head” and Linkin Park’s “The Catalyst”). They also just released their SocioPoliticalPimpTalk EP.