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.
Ty Senoj and Joe Impala of New Wave Order – “All I Wanna Do”
While some recent hip-hop attempts to mine “future bounce” and dance music for sounds and rhythms alone, it often misses the point of the genre. It may seem stunning at this juncture, but house music originated at parties and not in the murky depths of Soundcloud.
Toronto crew New Wave Order has been releasing an intriguing blend of hip-hop, soca, dancehall, and, now, house over the the past half year or so. While their finest moments—like Ty Senoj and Joe Impala’s latest, “All I Wanna Do”—remain rough around the edges, they point to an imaginative take on party music that pushes beyond hip-hop’s typical confines.
“All I Wanna Do” blends house synths with straightforward, bass-heavy hip-hop drums (sounds that fall somewhere between early ’80s 808 exploration and something a bit more modern and southern) for a concoction that’s undeniably fun in its loose form and infectious dedication to partying—no drugs, no explicit sex, none of the trappings of the party culture that has very little to do with modern rap and the clubs that play it. “All I Wanna Do” feels more like a relic left in a nightclub by ancient aliens than a transmission from the present. And if that makes your head spin, stop reading, turn on the perfect ode to dancing, and forget that I wrote this paragraph after watching Interstellar and having my brain severely fried.
Jayaire Woods – “2 shoes”
Chicago rapper Jayaire Woods has the gift of a voice that compells even when his words might not. That isn’t to say that debut single “toolong” and follow up “2 shoes” aren’t each well-written rap songs in their own regard. More precisely, it’s a gift rappers like Future, Young Thug, and Big Moe (two name a modern two and an influential one) use to give weight and meaning to words that in other hands might land without much spark.
Where Woods used his voice as a romantic instrument on “toolong,” he channels a floating melancholy-in-motion on “2 shoes”: “I been tryna smoke all my pains away…I been workin’ tryna get to tomorrow.” It’s effective because it never dives too deeply into pain or the salvation of hedonism, opting for a more everyday sort of existential weight. Another promising step from a Chicago talent to watch.
Justiiice – “The Drug Club”
Recently I’ve spent a few conversations and late night moments contemplating the way my generation does and views drugs. I don’t have a thesis formed enough to share, but the crux of my thinking is that our partying is sort of rudderless, a constant escape from reality that’s largely jubilant, occasionally grim, and often rooted in a desire to anesthetize ourselves.
“When I feel the pain/
I get filled with drank/”
Chicago rapper/producer Justiiice’s music speaks generally to the double-edged sword of drugs and alcohol: the hedonistic numbing of daily ills and the dark magnification of flaws and fears. That balance is familiar to anyone who’s spent substantial time with Future’s galvanizing third album Dirty Sprite 2, which revels in the spoils of a life lived beyond normal moral bounds, but also explores (and more often suggests) the darkness of the mind attracted to drugs as release and identity. “The Drug Club” isn’t quite as extravagant as Future’s savage lush life; its greater proximity to the average listener makes it just as compelling.
Kojo & Uno Hype – “Anybody”
Maryland native Uno Hype is a rapper of considerable range. When we last heard him, he was fronting rap-rock quartet G.U.M.P. (or, in the band’s words: “a four-piece alternative-hip-hop-gloom-rock-punk-slop band”).
On “Anybody” he examines a fledgling romance over a smart, smooth flip of Aaliyah’s “Are You That Somebody?” by producer Kojo. The end result makes a classic sound and sentiment feel surprisingly modern, a testament both to Hype’s agile rapping and Kojo’s clean production.
Dee Mafioso – HI
Even if Dee Mafioso doesn’t have any overwhelming signature characteristics to his music, he has the rest of his package down. He’s evidently more than just a capable rapper, at least that’s the impression HI gives off. It’s an incredibly solid effort with a lot of room for improvement, but one of the things he quite clearly doesn’t need to improve upon already is his beat selection. Working with P&P favorite Dylan Brady among others, HI proves that Dee knows the importance of a good collection of beats. HI doesn’t showcase what Dee could very well be capable of, but it does offer an interesting glimpse at what could very well be a promising future. – Joe Price