Hip-hop has always had artists who have not only advanced the art form by pushing the boundaries of what it should sound like, and even how its artists should even look like, but by pushing the boundaries of what the genre’s lyrical content should and could be. And they’re doing so in a way that should seem somewhat familiar to those who remember what may arguably be hip-hop’s golden age from about 1987-1995 or so; however, if you only heard today’s super conglomerate radio stations, you’d likely have the impression that every artist sounded like 2 Chainz or roughly a dozen other “approved” artists. Maybe a radio personality who loves hip-hop will play someone like Homeboy Sandman but you probably won’t hear his labelmates Jonwayne or Strong Arm Steady; nor will you hear arguably the best hip-hop album of the year, Guilty Simpson and Small Professor‘s Highway Robbery either. Thankfully, the blogosphere can – and sometime does – rectify egregious wrongs.
I was recently put on to After the Smoke, the recording and performing moniker of the Jamaican-born, Tallahassee, FL-based artist Rob Coin. 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’s heartfelt, sincere and yet never awkward. Check out “Wallstreet,” the first single and video off the soon-to-be released Microwaves Mixtape. in some way, the track is reminiscent of guys like Cadence Weapon although After the Smoke’s cadence and phrasing bears an uncanny resemblance to Kanye West.