As a genre, hip hop much like any other genre, has always had artists who have not only advanced the art form by pushing the boundaries of what it should sound like, and how its artists should dress and even look like, but by pushing the boundaries of the genre’s lyrical content and concerns should and could be. In fact, contemporary artists are pushing boundaries in a way that feels similar to hip hop’s golden age of 1987-1995 or so, and yet it also manages to feel completely distinct and of its time. In fact, mainstream radio stations are doing the hip hop audience a major disservice because if you spent every single day of your life listening to the Hot 97s and Power 105s – the conglomerate Starbucks/Coca-Cola/Bayer/Clear Channel owned stations – you’d probably think one of two things –that all hip hop must sound like 2 Chainz or that there’s one universally known Black/urban experience. Both of which aren’t remotely true. At least back in hip hop’s original golden age, you’d hear artists similar to Homeboy Sandman his label mates Jonwayne, and Strong Arm Steady. And you’d even hear something similar to arguably this years best hip-hop album, Guilty Simpson and Small Professor‘s Highway Robbery.
However, the blogosphere can (and sometimes does) rectify many of the egregious wrongs of mainstream radio – and i’m happy to take that as my duty as a blogger. Hell, someone has to do it! In any case, the Jamaican-born and Tallahassee, FL-based artist Rob Coin writes, records and performs under the moniker of After the Smoke. Along with production team Soft Glas and Day G, After the Smoke has come up with a sound that fuses a hazy electronica, p-funk and hip hop with confessional, deeply personal lyrics — in a way that feels heartfelt, sincere and yet never awkward, as you’ll hear on “Wallstreet,” the first single off the Microwaves Mixtape. The latest single (and video) off Microwaves "Can’t Deny" has Coin’s spitting rapid fire lyrics Dirty South-style backed by sparse, glitchy minimalist beats and hazy, swirling electronics.