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.
Leen Bean – “Sandra Bland”
A year ago (almost to the day), I wrote about Mississippi rapper skipp coon’s blistering “assata taught me (page 181):
“Though certainly not subtle (I suppose there’s little room for subtlety when you’re trying to incite revolution), skipp’s rapping turns a type of rap so often laborious and pedantic into something urgent and alive. His targets don’t feel purely political or ideological, they feel human, matters of life and death that cut across party lines to the core of a burning time in American history—and, as civil, racial conflicts erupt globally, world history.
Unfortunately, it’s likely that skipp’s incisive words will get lost in the yawn of the internet. That makes them no less important nor less indicative of the fissures and institutional issues that spurred them into existence.“
Two weeks after skipp released “assata taught me (page 181)” and two weeks before he would release his raw, impassioned third album Miles Garvey, Darren Wilson shot Michael Brown. My fingers initially forced “murdered” onto the digital page in the place of “shot” because that captures the memory of the moment. The law exonerated a man too soon forgotten in the scheme of America’s festering racial schism. skipp’s music has, regrettably, remained a blip on the radar of the universe, but his anger and messages feel more relevant than they were even a year ago.
Philadelphia rapper Leen Bean’s plainly titled “Sandra Bland” gives chilling life to the most recent tragedy in the battle between police officers and America’s black population. The song speaks for itself.
Corbin Butler – ROLLING RIDGE
Southern California native Corbin Butler released one of my favorite songs in nearly a year and a half of 5 On It with June’s “23,” a concertedly woozy re-imagining of a Blink-182 mega-hit into an entertaining, incisive exploration of scattered youth. Personal, singular in its blend of hip-hop and rock, and exemplary of Butler’s on-record personality, “23” piqued my interest like few other songs I’ve come across in my recent attempts to mine Soundcloud and my inbox for gold.
Nearly two months later, Butler delivers ROLLING RIDGE, a project as ambitious, unpredictable, and well-executed as “23” led me to believe possible. Standouts “NEVER HAPPEN:4U,” “BOUND4,” “5THPOCKET,” and “CHINOUNFIEDSD FLAWCALL” (which might be the album’s greatest highlight, a meditation on teenage apathy and listlessness—insightful and casually tragic) showcase an artist searching for voice and purpose with a raw, exciting skill-set and compelling palette of sounds and concepts. Part of the shape and success of ROLLING RIDGE rests on Butler’s creative relationship with producer (and occasional co-producer) AygsB, an architect of some of the project’s brightest lights and unique sound. An unusually intriguing first body of work from a talent to watch.
Enter the weird, wonderful world of Peddler Money Gang Records
Early this week, it dawned on me that I hadn’t gone on a good ol’ fashioned Soundcloud hunt in months. 5 On It has become a sort of self fulfilling prophecy each week, with a stream of submissions, recommendations, and close-at-hand finds leading to fairly easy assembly. I’m always grazing Soundcloud, but it had been too long since I’d last climbed deep into the catacombs to find where the best bodies are buried.
I came across Senpai’s “2” EP, which was hosted on an at-first-glance unintelligible account: P2THEGOLDMA$K.
P2THEGOLDMA$K’s Soundcloud lit up like an Internet version of the cave in Aladdin that housed endless rows of sparkling treasure. It reminded me of my initial brushes with Lil B: unkempt, impenetrable, and thrilling in its sheer possibility. P2THEGOLDMA$K’s Soundcloud bio didn’t provide any particular hints as to who he was, save for the name of his label:
“// PEDDLER MONEY GANG RECORD$$$ //
swervin n servin da burb$ . doin shit alil diff in da trap this yeaur OG – Emo Thugg”
Fascinated, I reached out to the contact email on the Peddler Money Gang Records’ website.
A speedy response hit my inbox outlining an 18 person crew that included rappers, singers, producers, DJ’s, visual artists, and skaters
While the response I received would take up the majority of a normal 5 On It, I’m copying some of the salient information about PMG and P2THEGOLDMA$K below, largely unedited (save for omissions about other members of the crew).
What is Peddler Money Gang Records?
PMGRECORD$ ( Peddler Money Gang / skaters & hustlers dat peddle .. dope audio n otha shit )
est. By P2THEGOLDMA$K n 2007 but was jus a crew that skated n hung n shit n house party freestyles n allat , what is now known as PMGRECORDS is brand new and assemble in 2014 of unique artists / producers and skaters , members spread from Encinitas, California to Amsterdam, Netherlands ..
The PMG roster comprises:
P2THEGOLDMA$K // Germany /San Antonio,TX (artist)
GHOSTPIZZA // San Antonio, TX (Official PMG DJ)
TAMA GUCCI // Miami, FLA (Singer)
DRIPPIN SO PRETTY // Encinitas, CA (artist/skater)
KITTYLUX // Atlanta, GA (Female Singer)
MA$$IE DA SNEAK // San Antonio, TX (artist)
BURGER ON DA BEAT // San Diego, CA (Producer)
JSTEEZ // San Antonio, TX (Producer)
TRILLA WULF // Amsterdam, NL (Female Producer)
STEVEN LAWYER // CALIFORNIA (Pro Skater/Artist) *Thrasher Sponsored*
J CHAINIX // Boonies, NY (Graphics/Art Specialist for PMG)
J DOUGH aka ARTLORD // THE BAY AREA , CA (Producer)
WIFIGAWD // DC, (Artist)
BREAL_GODLY // Houston, TX (Artist)
KU$H CREEP // San Antonio, TX (Producer/Massie Official DJ)
2LITco. // Mexico (Visuals Production,PMG Videographer)
KAMBINO // Phillipines/San Antonio,TX (Artist)
ISAIYA // Austin, TX (Producer)
On patriarch P2THEGOLDMA$K:
P2THEGOLDMA$K is the founder and what all members consider the OG big BRUH , not much is known of his origins other than he was born in Germany and moved to the US as a kid , his music is a Trap Wave called traptaku it originated from Trap and word otaku because of a luv for anime/manga and lifestyle , P2 brings a Trap wave that is for the normal trapper the suburb chill trap sound not the Chief Keef 100 guns n da bando shit that 97% of America doesnt live .. P2 makes that realistic trap dat the ppl can relate to no fantasy shit…He wears a mask for many reason but the main for protection from evil . P2 is on course to be the first ever artist to gain a lane in underground and give a city (San Antonio) national exposure with SA being the only city in TX out of the BIG 4 ( DAL,HOU,SA,AUS ) not to have National Spotlight and the city is backing him and PMG as they turn out in droves Reciting word for word THE KO$A (P2 aka King Of San AnTokyo) Trap ballads and ragers
On PMG as a label:
PMG is about creating , creating great music , great visuals , opportunity .. to leave the street shit some of us be involved wit , we peddle the dope for da audio now . PMGRECORD$ WILL BE ON TOUR IN SEPTEMBER AND NOVEMBER CITIES AND DATES GUESTS ANNOUNCED SOON .. most of all PMG IS ABOUT PIECE AND UNITY OF HUMANS :)
I’m not sure that one point of musical entry is better than any other for P2THEGOLDMA$K and PMG Records’ sprawling existence, so I’m including the enigmatic founder’s mostly excellent and enjoyably, unabashedly bizarre recent tape FUCK SUM STRESS below. I encourage diving into the rest of P2THEGOLDMA$K and PMG’s catalog, particularly if you missed the earliest days of Lil B’s Myspace and blog onslaught. Though some might accuse the San Antonio-based rapper and crew of biting (and the similarities are undeniable), the implicit homage, continuation on inspiration, and scope of imagination are enough to make me a fan and curious follower. In an age when surprise albums are hardly surprising anymore, hidden worlds like the one P2THEGOLDMA$K seems to be building cut through the desensitization with a dose of the thrillingly odd.
Jefe Replay – “Sips Tea”
New York producer Obeatz constructed one of 2014’s underground earworms, rising Boston rapper Cousin Stizz’s “Shoutout.” While Jefe Replay’s topically inclined “Sips Tea” doesn’t quite hit the same infectious height as “Shoutout,” it’s a similarly memorable listen, hypnotic, winding production matched by rapping that’s mesmerizing in its mellow way.
(Hat tip to the ever-on-point Steady Leanin’)
Atari Jones, Eytan Tobin, and beat sampras – “Cosmic Ocean”
“Cosmic Ocean” is pretty simple: Whatever futuristic nightclub is playing Atari Jones, Eytan Tobin, and beat sampras’ new jam is a nightclub I want to be in every Saturday night for at least the rest of this year, maybe through 2016, maybe in 2036. Fun, charmingly lo-fi, and balancing reserved cool with house-influenced energy, fittingly titled “Cosmic Ocean” slides nicely into one burgeoning hip-hop current, continuing the trend of marrying rap and dance music in a way that feels far more organic than in ages past.