A lot’s happened over the past couple of weeks in hip hop. Rising XXL freshman YBN Cordae released his highly-anticipated debut album, The Lost Boy (a great start to say the least). Chance the Rapper disappointed fans with his own “debut” album The Big Day (though I enjoyed it)-and Rick Ross continued to show why he is indeed The Boss (his Port of Miami 2 tape is the epitome of “big boy rap”). All are noteworthy milestones one way or another. Every one of these projects will probably be dissected to their core. Genius videos will be made about symbolic lyrics; interviews will be conducted through various radio shows; and fans will tweet endless memes to showcase their feelings on the topics at hand.
In the meantime, I want to focus on three songs that caught my attention within the deepest and darkest parts of the underground. We know what guys like Chance, Cordae, and Ross are capable of. It’s now time to let the obscure find the light. As always, leave comments down below for suggestions on other artists and songs.
Caleb Giles – “Too” (feat. Cleo Reed)
The New York underground continues to obliterate any other region in the United States (with the exception of Houston). Spearheading this movement are local rappers Caleb Giles, MIKE and Slauson Malone.
Giles raps with an eagerness way beyond his years. On “Too,” the 21 year-old contemplates his rise to prominence through the perspective of his younger self. The track is equal parts melodic and introspective-with Giles flowing over a beat that could probably have been found on Tyler, the Creator’s Flower Boy. Check out Giles’ new album Under the Shade on all platforms.
Notable lyrics: “‘Cause nothing shines out here/So I’m in my room cutting these rhymes out here/Like my neighbors at the stove cutting lines out here/I’m in the middle trying to keep my fucking mind’s eye clear.”
Pivot Gang – “Houdini” ( feat. theMIND)
Pivot Gang quietly came out with the best collaborative album of the year with You Can’t Sit With Us. For whatever reason, people like to ignore the fact that Saba is quickly becoming one of the best spitters out there (just listen to his solo project Care For Me).
“Houdini” showcases a group of artists doing what they love. This is another example of Pivot Gang displaying good ole’ fashion competition. Each rapper attempts to outdo one another with punchlines, fast flows and introspection. Frequent collaborator theMIND provides a melodic chorus to break up the fire verses.
Seemingly, Pivot Gang has perfected the structure of a collaborative track; never allowing anything that doesn’t fit their artistic vision. Every idea comes with a purpose, and “Houdini” is no different.
Notable lyrics: (Saba) “They asking for too much so I say, ‘no bra’ like she topless/Part of me poison like Bobby Brown my prerogative/Partially pointless if fortunes just spent on property”
Seddy Hendrinx – “Lowkey”
And now for my favorite melodic trap banger from the past two weeks. There’s something mesmerizing about Hendrix’s auto-tuned vocal inflections-not to mention catchy as all hell. The song itself follows the basic narrative of “searching for that desired love.” However, Hendrinx’ delivery is undeniably charming, especially when the chorus enters, and the 808 drum hits. He’s definitely got some swagger.
There’s harmonizing going on behind the instrumental (could be a sample), adding a whole other dimension to the production as well.
Notable lyrics: “I feel like I got a good bond with you, don’t want to double back no erase/Finger licking, yeah the garlic be the taste.”