Laneway in the loop #2 - Hip hop rules
Hip hop is the past half-century’s most important development in American pop music. Let’s save the sputter of protests: It’s been scientifically proven by researchers from two London universities.
As an appreciation of the prevalence of this game-changing genre that sprouted from underground culture 40 years ago to become an explosive billion-dollar industry, Laneway continues to populate its festivals with talented hip-hop acts.
On the bill are Clams Casino, KOHH, Mick Jenkins and Sampa The Great. Each has inculcated hip-hop sounds into their repertoire and created their own voice.
Catch Clams Casino, KOHH, Mick Jenkins and Sampa The Great at Laneway Festival Singapore 2017!
WHO DO WE HAVE HERE?
Michael Volpe or Clammy Clams, a physical-therapist-in-training who got into beat-making at 14 years. For the longest time, he had hoped that rappers would like his productions enough to guest on one of them. It was as recent as 2008 that the New Jersey native was shamelessly spamming rappers.
THE TURNING OF THE TIDE
One rapper did pay heed – the eclectic Lil B, who also happens to be an internet celebrity with 1.32 million Twitter followers and more than 100 million YouTube views. With Lil B, Volpe enjoyed his first real hit. “I’m God”, the 2009 cloud-rap hit, propelled him to prominence.
From 2011 to 2013, Volpe let loose a trilogy of instrumentals, pretty much retreating into the shadows till July 2016, when he released his debut album, 32 Levels. Read what you will into the title, but this much can be said: Volpe is definitely a man of many levels.
“At his best, Clams knocks our tried-and-true pop formats just slightly off-balance, to the point where you’re left wondering why we have the blueprints in the first place.” Spin review of 32 Levels, referring to the track, 'Thanks To You'
"It was just exciting for my mind to be as free as Clams' music is.” – Lil B, Noisey interview
SOUND AND STYLE
Beautiful instrumentals that evoke a wide spectrum of emotions. A lo-fi maximalism style has been widely imitated and sought after.
Volpe is happy to be in several lanes, preferring not to label himself a strictly hip-hop artiste – although his association with and involvement in the genre has distinctly defined his work.
Mick Jenkins was a teenage poet, spouting verses at open-mic Young Chicago Authors sessions, while nestling a dream of becoming a lawyer. The time spent at the YCA would prove to be more worthwhile than social self-development: it honed his distinctive musical style.
He subsequently abandoned that idea and flirted with being a fashion designer. But that aspiration fizzled out too, after he spent 34 days behind bars in Alabama.
Upon his release, he returned to Chicago. That was when he decided to put everything into rap. Through his network built through the YCA, Jenkins and theMIND dived into a collaborative effort, “Dehydration (feat. theMIND)” was the result, a track on his fourth mixtape, The Water(S), released in 2014.
The Water(S), saturated with gripping lyricism, moral muscle and biblical allegory, is considered the socially conscious rapper’s breakout album, instantly setting him apart from other newcomers in Chicago’s fierce, competitive hip-hop scene.
Jenkins dropped [T]he [H]ealing [C]omponent in September 2016, a verbose debut full-length album espousing the importance of love. He somehow manages to make the done-to-death subject sound revelatory.
“The entire record is a piece, and the way his intense lyrics balance with the album's overall relaxed vibe makes the most sense when heard together. But Dehydration stands out as a dramatic highlight.”
Rolling Stone review of The Water(S)
“He's grown into a hip-hop artist of substance. In a Chicago scene already loaded with talented MCs such as Psalm One, Chance the Rapper, Lupe Fiasco, Vic Mensa, Tree, ProbCause and countless others, Jenkins stands out… .”
Daring and expressive with an affinity for metaphor, Jenkins’ no-nonsense tone gives his wordplay a considered gravitas. Kendrick Lamar, Chance the Rapper and Vic Mensa fans will be drawn to his music.
Going for Laneway? We’ll be upfront: Wear sneakers. Here’s why.
#1. Sneakers are always stylish.
#2. Practicality and comfort are key at a 14-hour music festival. Besides, you need to walk from stage to stage and weather is unpredictable.
#3. You are welcome to jam at the White Room – with your sneakers. Stilettos will have to wait their turn.