We can forgive Soulja Boy for taking a while to figure out his sound. He has been famous since he was seventeen, and has spent much of his career swaggerjacking everyone from Gucci Mane to Lil B. He teamed up with some of the rappers in the Chicago drill scene for his Juice II mixtape this fall, but his recent internet-released tracks sound somewhere between #based vibes and the irreverent molly pop he made with Kwony Kash on the Juice mixtape. “Life is Good” is a new freestyle in which Soulja Boy contemplates his considerable blessings. Despite some minor biting of Big Sean of all people, this track is refreshing step-forward for the rapper. He references conversations with Kanye West, pays respect to 2 Chainz work ethic, name-drops Gucci Mane and Jay-Z. All these references to other rappers are remarkably respectful. Soulja Boy extends these vibes to the internet too, giving shouts to “Fader, Pitchfork, Rap Radar / swaggin on the internet / what’s up to the bloggers.” Anyone who has seen Soulja Boy: The Movie, the biographical documentary about DeAndre Way, knows that this is guy who truly loves the internet and does most of his socializing through chatting online and playing 360 with his boys. His genuine affection for online culture and efforts to boost his fellow rappers recall hyperpositive alt-lit poetry. You could call Soulja Boy the rap game Steve Roggenbuck, but we all know it’s really the other way around.
We’ve been waiting for the next one for a good minute, and we’re feeling blessed that it’s finally here. North Carolina’s Deniro Farrar teaming up with Californian Green Ova representative Shady Blaze is an duo that we’ve luckily gotten used to hearing by now, but their collaboration with Montreal’s Lunice is one that’s been a long time coming. “All I Know” follows a sound that we’re not necessarily used to hearing from any of the artists involved in the collaboration. It’s an exorbitantly melodious track, accompanied by Blaze’s effortlessly on-point fast-paced raps, a surprisingly autotuned chorus that we’d rather expect to hear on Pluto and numerous pianos ganging up on the both rappers’ words. Though last month’s Blaze and Farrar’s much-anticipated joint EP was a wholesome and complete record, this follow-up forms a great booster of a reminder of why “Kill Or Be Killed” should remain in many a playlists’ rotation.
There’s no questioning that Legowelt has cemented his name in electronic music history and he shows no signs of slowing down. With what seems like an infinite number of aliases and side projects it’s safe to say he has no qualms in the studio. So when he uploaded his rendition of the 1979 disco classic from The Whispers “And The Beat Goes On” we weren’t that surprised. In a typical Legowelt fashion it’s full of synthesizer action, but manages to keep an open feeling mix. Most importantly he imports the notes and musicality of the original in a way that respects the original’s vibe, but still adds a playful modern twist to it. His along with Xosar’s recent obsession with surfer house is apparent in this version with its light, slightly degraded kicks and cheap (in a cool, Casio way) sounding synths. It’s basically begging for one of those vintage, low quality videos often paired with their Trackman & Bonquiqui tracks. There’s nothing revolutionary here, but it’s a fun track perfect for kicking it on your patio or rooftop.
Stream/Download: Legowelt - And The Beat Goes On (The Whispers Cover) via SoundCloud.
Oh Bicep, we love you so. It’s always great when artists give away tracks to their fans but it’s especially generous when they choose to give out one of their most requested unreleased for free. In the case of Bicep, they celebrated their fourth birthday last week and to mark the occasion the Belfordians gave away a free download of “Feel It,” a track that first appeared in their mix for Beats In Space consisting of unreleased tracks including a rare “Lost In The Harddrive Failure” dub. The track delivers exactly what we love about and would expect from Ferguson and McBriar: smooth grooves, 90s synths and an infectious vocal on top, the result in their own words sounding like a smooth interfusion of NY and UKG (fun ‘n’ bumpin’). And indeed, we want to bump this through our speakers day and night. We’re feeling it.
Lunice’s wildly energetic sets are the best times to hear how his own music gels so well with the more mainstream rap music that we love, and soon you realize that they’re not as far-removed as you might be lead to think. Alongside his collaboration with Farrar & Blaze and working on his own music, he never slows down the grind: the TNGHT EP with Hudson Mohawke has made one of the biggest marks on the scene this year. The two artists’ combined starpower has been enough to set them in the same league as those whose music they appropriated in the past, leading to Hudmo’s mysterious connections with Kanye West, and TNGHT’s official(!) remix of Flocka’s “Rooster in my Rari.” The vibes exuded when they get to play Flocka come right through in what they’ve done when given the opportunity to make his song their own. For the purposes of journalistic accuracy we crowdsourced a meaning for “Rooster in my Rari” (aka we went on RapGenius), but in a valuable testament to why you should never trust large groups of randoms, we ended up finding the actual answer from Flocka himself (is “fellatio” one of the F’s in Triple-F Life?). Anyway, TNGHT have generously given away their remix for free – stream and download below.
It would be an understatement to say Ryan Hemsworth is having a good year. The excellent Charly Wingate EP has acted as a victory lap after production work for other Truants favourites Main Attrakionz, Shady Blaze & Deniro Farrar as well as a slew of unbelievable mixes that effortlessly traverse the 2012 rap landscape with his own dreamy instrumentals bridging the gaps. Of course, you’ll remember all of that from Truancy Vol 47, and we’re very pleased to be rubbing shoulders with fellow recipients of the Hemsworth magic LFTF, Oki-Ni and Scion Sessions. These mixes have been populated by a number of excellent bootlegs and refixes, some of which Hemsworth shares with the world: this time round he has been kind enough to let loose two of the highlights from his most recent set, a rare midweek edition of Fact’s mix series.
Having already worked wonders with the Donkey Kong Country soundtrack, Hemsworth moves onto another Super Nintendo mainstay – Chrono Trigger – to flip Jeremih’s 773 Love. As one of our most played mixtapes of the year we’re already huge stans for Late Nights With Jeremih with 773 Love a firm favourite, so we couldn’t help but be a little suspicious of a refix. We were wrong to doubt though, as a liberal sprinkling of JRPG sample magic inexplicably coerces even more seductive power from Mike Will Made It’s incredible beat.
Stream/Download: Jeremih - 773 Love (Ryan Hemsworth's Squaresoft Bootleg)
More exciting still is Hemsworth’s remix of Tinashe’s Boss, the stand out track from another Truants TIP In Case We Die. With the original haunting in its minimalism, Hemsworth opts to recast the track as a kaleidoscopic call-to-arms, all swirling lights and gorgeous circling chimes. Though the vocal has long been lodged in the backs of our brains, with the Hemsworth treatment the chorus is a serious contender for best of the year: it’s remarkable that in both guises it’s been given away for free. Based on the strength of these tracks, we hoping for a 2013 that sees Ryan Hemsworth draw on more RnB talent for collaborations.
Stream/Download: Tinashe - Boss (Ryan Hemsworth Remix)
Written by: Jon Alcindor, Simon Docherty, Michelle Myers, Cayley MacArthur, Simon Docherty, Sindhuja Shyam & Soraya Brouwer.
Check out past installments in the Sunday’s Best Archives.