SXSW Spreadsheet 150 - and the countdown begins, 10 more sets to go to completion! This one is a nice treat, featuring 3 interesting progressive hip hop acts. Highlights:
Ninjasonik – a hip hop trio from New York City with an exciting and edgy delivery. Ninjasonik’s sound is derived from dance music, hitting on down tempo club beats as well as more traditional hip hop elements. There’s a musicality embedded in their sound not normally found in hip hop currently. Reverend McFly, Telli “Bathroomsexxx” Gramz, and DJ Teenwolf’s (possibly the raddest trio of names in hip hop history) level of creativity is really exciting; Ninjasonik should keep taking their music as far out as they can. From an MC perspective, there’s a diverse mix of rapping styles, from Odd Future-like drawl to an in-your-face, aggressive style. Ninjasonik is currently touring supporting their debut LP, 2010’s Art School Girls. If their intensity live is anything like on record, they will surely to be an act to catch at SXSW.
The Niyat – a hip hop duo from Houston with a dark and serious sound. The Niyat stand out for their experimental choices. They incorporate an ambient tone on a few tracks, but also bring up the energy in an eclectic way. They sound genuinely “underground” in the same way Das Racist does, really trying to stretch the genre in many directions. Lyrically, The Niyat take a similar approach. Their material ranges from the very real to the surreal. Their delivery is rhythmically complex, playing tightly off the beats. I can’t find too much information about this duo online, so I imagine they are pretty underappreciated in the scene. These guys have some potential to break out given the direction indie hip hop seems to be going this year.
Odd Future (OFWGKTA) – an experimental hip hop group from Los Angeles with a dark and dirty sound. Like many indie music followers, I was introduced to Odd Future through their Jimmy Fallon performance with a “you gotta see this!” preface. I didn’t quite get it at first, probably due to the relatively great amount of hype these guys were getting, literally in a few hours time. Yet digging further into their joint catalog reveals an incredibly interesting and eclectic set of songs that really seem to push the boundaries of modern hip hop. It’s an urban equivalent of art rock, but there’s an underlying accessibility buried with their sound. In that regard, Odd Future are akin to Velvet Underground or Syd Barrett era Pink Floyd. For hip hop, it seems an odd future indeed if this sound digs further into the scene, but without risk there is no reward. Expect a crowded showcase with these guys, the blogosphere is certainly abuzz.
Nic Armstrong - a folk rock singer-songwriter from Austin with a gritty and psychadelic sound.
Ormonde - a folk rock duo featuring Anna-Lynne Williams (Trespassers William) and Robert Gomez (Sarah Jaffe collaborator) with a quiet sound.
Outasight - a hip hop artist from Yonders, NY with a fun & soulful pop style.