5 On It is a feature that looks at five of the best under-the-radar rap findings from the past week, highlighting new or recently discovered artists, or interesting obscurities.
5 On It Video Premiere: MakinOut – “Playground”
Running along a perfect razor’s edge between catchiness and potential nuisance, New York rapper MakinOut’s “Playground” is the sort of goofy, uninhibited fun that burrows its way into your brain after two plays, maybe even one: “Got your girl she on my playground/Lick the lollipop and she up in my candy shop.” MakinOut’s sing-song flow and humorous lines like “foreign bitch and she look like FKA” give “Playground” a certain hypnotic pull (helped by a mesmerizing, but simply shot video).
It might not be the sort of record New York classicists would like to hear coming out of the city, but it’s further proof that strange and vibrant things are still happening in hip-hop’s birthplace.
Zeus Trappin – Trap Rock
Atlanta’s reign as rap’s most vital city is unlikely to be challenged any time soon.
Even chalking it up to a perfect storm of elements (cheap living costs, a diverse population, a rich lineage of different musical traditions, a position as central point among southeastern states, a club and radio system that can legitimately turn local favorites into regional hits and, ultimately, national ones), the city’s dominance—both on the mainstream and alternative sides—bears no real parallel in the history of rap music. New York and L.A. in the late ’80s and early 9’0s are the only close analogues in terms of diversity, but rap had yet to reach the sort of ubiquity on radio that it would achieve as the Golden Age gave way. Surely other cities and regions (Chicago, the DMV, L.A.) are having renaissances small and large, but nothing comes close to Atlanta’s persistent, varied successes.
Another name to toss on the pile of promising Atlanta talents: 22-year-old Zeus Trappin.
The Nigerian born rapper, singer, and designer behind Piece Gods (notable for its quietly permeating, Gap-imitating “Trap” apparel), Zeus is a true creative Atlanta forges: ambitious, multi-faceted, and fearless. His debut mixtape Trap Rock is exactly the sort of loose, free-form, unusual collection that points to the kinetic potential to spawn a surprise hit (either at some point in the future or even from this collection of songs—my bet’s on opener and standout “On I”).
LAMB$ – Fukk Karma EP
Ohio rapper LAMB$’ recent output feels like a whirlwind effort to run down the darker corridors of 90s and early 2000s rap and hip-hop aesthetics with an abandon for the bounds of regionalism, temporality, or even loose interrelation. Memphis, Cincinnati, New Orleans, and New York all pop up in LAMB$’ menacing stew.
Brazenly nihilistic new EP Fukk Karma continues the trend, pulling together a grim production palette for LAMB$ to volley all kinds of threats at would-be foes and victims. If you need five songs as a soundtrack to frighten your parents, ride on your enemies, or simply blow out your speakers, Fukk Karma has you covered.
pizza boy. – “thanks for the tip. (mud butt and Pepto.)”
Behold! pizza boy. returns!
If you’ve been following 5 On It over the last few weeks, you might recall the unusual debut project from pizza boy., a self-aware, self-deprecating, porn-watching, internet-obsessed emo rapper.
So, of course, when pizza boy. sent a follow up email, I had to pay attention:
this is my new song, ‘thanks for the tip. (mud butt and Pepto.)’
i created it as a token of gratitude to the listeners I’ve gained from my debut album.
topics discussed in the song include:
– life imitating art
– the double-edged twin blades that are the “hype machine” and “blowing up”
– eating Jennifer Lawrence’s ass
– thank you, as always, for your time and effort.
p.s. i’m providing you, exclusively, with this photograph of myself:
What more can be said? I’ll let pizza boy.’s music do the rest of the talking.
Will Hill – “Sim Simma”
In a previous, more lawless era of blogging, brave (or unknowing) sites often compiled collections of illicit remixes and mash-ups that collided readily recognizable samples in the sorts of tantalizing DMCA takedown buffets that now plague blogs and Soundcloud producers alike. Sampling, on the whole, has become particularly onerous in an age of easy digital investigation—whether costly as a component of commercially available music or as a legal stumbling block for those releasing free music.
Fuck that. Sometimes you need to throw caution to the wind in the name of a great sample.
Atlanta rapper Will Hill’s “Sim Simma” samples Daft Punk’s “Something About Us (I Need You)” to catchy, imminently enjoyable effect. It’s not quite “Stronger,” but it’s an excellent use of familiar source material that reminds us how much fun a well-used, easily recognizable, and almost certainly uncleared sample can be, potential consequences be damned.