In 2015 our squad has been really dedicated to going that extra mile to become the best damn rap site on this here internet. With investigations, unique reviews, and Yoh doing Yoh things, it's been a resounding success, but it's almost meant leaving some dear dear friends along the side of the road. While we love running smaller pieces like weekly quizzes, we just haven't had the time to run them because we're so focused on aiming at bigger targets.
Another victim in the quest for internet glory has been our Under 1,000 series. Shit, we haven’t done one in forever. Honestly, I had totally forgotten about it. Until yesterday.
And Bryce wasn’t the only one. Apparently there’s some serious interest for another Under 1,000. I had no idea.
I believe it was original Beardgang member, Abraham Lincoln, who once said, "A blog of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the earth," and that dude killed a ton of vampires so we should probably listen to him. So, it’s time for another edition of Under 1,000. For those who are new, here’s what I’m talking about...
It all started out as a bet, of sorts. Maybe more like a challenge. In 2015, when a previously unknown artist gets called the next big superstar after their first YouTube video, how "new" can you really get? Just like it's (nearly) impossible to come up with a Google search that yields only one result, is it even possible to find an artist with "Under 1,000" Twitter followers? And better yet, is it possible to find an Under 1,000 artist who's any good?
Turns out, yeah, as long as you are willing to put in the work, it is pretty possible, so possible that this a regular thing...well, it used to be. Finding those needles in a haystack of "My Way" freestyles and bringing them to your doorstep is what I live for and why I'm excited to do this. So, once again, let's get right into it, shall we?
The Jack Moves (@TheJackMoves): 184 followers
When looking for a great under 1,000 candidate, I always make sure that they've released more than just one or two songs, because it’s hard to get a handle on someone’s style using such a small sample size. Well, The Jack Moves are the exception. This retro-soul sound is so hot right now, but the thing I love about The Jack Moves is while they have that soulful, retro spirit, there is something modern very modern about their sound; they possess a darker edge that balances the soul. I think it comes from the duo’s producer, Teddy Powell, who really uses drums to juxtapose the soul of Zee Desmondes’ voice. I really dig the way their material is impassioned, while also making sure it’s not light or fluffy. Soul with balls.
They may only have two songs available for your listening pleasure right now, but both are simply outstanding. I don’t need seven thousand jams to know they are capabale of quality. The kicker here is that while they only have 184 followers, their forthcoming album is going to be released via Wax Poetic Records; that’s a pretty substantial co-sign. I may not be able to give you a mixtape from The Jack Moves, but I can give you a soulful playlistby them. That should hold you over until their album drops, right?
Jack Red (@jabarirayford): 584 followers
From Jack Moves to Jack Red….remember that little project called Surf that dropped a few weeks ago? Remember how insanely deep I went (pause) into the liner notes? Well, out of all those names, out of all those talented contributors, Jack Red (who appeared on multiple Surf cuts) has remained present in my thoughts. Often times I’ll get excited about an artist who worked on a favorite project only to forget about them, but something about Jack stuck with me all the way through Surf and my subsequent two week vacation. If we’re being honest I don’t usually gravitate toward this type of sound, I’m much more of a boom-bap guy than a glossy R&B guy, but there’s something about Red's vocals that won’t leave me alone. He’s just so damn fresh.
Jack has the solo thing down, as evidenced by “What U Came 4 ” and this smooth little diddy, but his best work seems to come when he works with others. Whether it’s this Closed Sessions/ Odd Couple tune (also featuring the O’My’s and Keweku Collins), this one with Wyclef, or his own cut, which features a guest spot from BK Bambino, Red flourishes. For some reason there is a stigma attached to artists who are always collaborating with other artists, but I don’t see it as a crutch or a negative. Jack’s ability to jive with seemingly anyone is a testament to his own talent. He has a special quality that takes a song and brings it to the next level. I’m excited to hear more from him...solo or as part of an ensemble.
Blake Graham (@Blake_Graham_) 568 Followers.
My inbox is filled with submissions, most of which are either e-mail blasts every blogger this side of the internet receives or freestyles over Drake records, but every once and a while I come across a gem. Enter Blake Graham. Way back in February, Blake emailed me a link to his then unreleased project, Art?, and he’s been in rotation ever since. What I love most about him is his ability to be profound, thoughtful, and deep all with his fluid, nonchalant flow. If I’m high (which I often am) and don’t really want to think about anything I can vibe out to the vibes. If I’m high (which often I am) and want to get all lost in my thoughts and shit, I can do that too. The video featured above, "Notes From Atlantis," is a perfect example. He may not have a huge budget (he still makes a dope video) or a million many followers, but the dude has personality and charisma and it comes through in his music; that's a skill some aritsts never learn. Blake is definitely one to keep an eye and hear on...and to follow.
Boom! Ain’t no rust here. Three artists all with very different sounds all with under 1,000 followers on Twitter. Ask and ye’ shall receive. We may not do under 1,000 as often, but it’s always good to take a break from doing crazy research projects to remember that dope music is dope music regardless of pageviews, Pulitzers, or social media followers. No matter how big we get, no matter how much dope shit we do, finding new talent will always be a pillar of DJBooth. Nothing will change that.
Until next time, whenever that time is...
[Lucas Garrison is a writer for DJBooth.net. His favorite album is “College Dropout,” but you can also tweet him your favorite Migos songs at @LucasDJBooth.]