"Who is Alxandr Nate???"- You (probably)
That's exactly my point.
Now that the year is ending, I've been seeing a lot of "So and so is the most slept on artist of this year" lists. Case in point, just yesterday XXL fucked my day up with their "20 Most Slept-On Songs of 2015" list, which featured Future, Kendrick Lamar and a host of other major label, chart-topping artists.
It’s not just XXL either, it’s the whole “slept on” concept. What the fuck does it actually mean? How in the actual fuck is any song from Future or To Pimp A Butterfly slept on?! You mean to tell me a song off the highest-rated album of all-time is “slept on”?! HOW SWAY?! Seriously. Or how about J. Cole? Sorry J. Cole fans, but it’s hard to be slept on when you are selling out shows at MSG and churning out HBO specials. Is there anything that's just properly rated or not slept on anymore?
"Drake had 1.8 billion streams, but I really liked his work, so he really should have had 2 billion, man Drake is slept on"
Sounds stupid, right? "Slept on" shouldn't be about a thing that's already famous being more famous, it's not even really about a thing that's not particularly famous that maybe could be a little more famous. It should be about a thing that essentially no one knows about but that everyone should.
And instead of just complaining or writing that think piece, I'm going to put my money where my mouth is and show the good people of the internet what “slept on” really is by highlighting the work of an artist who released some truly exceptional music that actually is underrated; that actually is slept on. No major label deals, no NPR First Listen. If you have under 1,000 followers and release great music - not good music, great music - then we can talk. Sorry Future and your two million Twitter followers, but you don't belong here. I’m not about talk, I’m about that action, boss.
And that's why I’m dubbing Alxandr Nate the actual most slept on artist of 2015.
The Social Experiment/Savemoney/Chicago in general is on such a hot streak. It seems like any artist who has ever worked with anyone in Chicago blew up this year. Lilli K, Eryn Allen Kane, Joey Purp, Towkio, Noname Gypsy, everything that crew touches turns to buzz. Everyone but Alxandr Nate. Now he isn’t technically from Chicago, he's not in with that crew, and he wasn’t featured on Surf, but his introduction to the world, “El Dorado,” was produced by Nate Fox (AKA All Day Recess).
I was astonished upon first listen. How could this guy come out of nowhere, literally no songs ever released in the history of the world, and suddenly one of Surf’s biggest contributors was producing for him? Not only that, but how was the record this good? There’s no reason this song shouldn’t have blown up, it came out in July when the Surf mania was still in high gear, but it didn’t. The song, currently sitting at 6,700 plays, is theatrical and cinematic, it belongs in a Gatorade commercial, in movie trailers and SportsCenter montages yet it remained hidden deep in the clouds.
His next two releases, all in the span of a few months, only made me more of a fan and more confused. Instead of the intoxicating, anthemic feel of "El Dorado," “Ol' Luc” has simmering burn to it. This is my favorite effort from Nate. I love how the track is driven by his voice, yet he’s so understated. He adds a dash of passion here and there, but as a whole he lets the song do the work. It was only his second release, but he showed not just an ability to sing but also to work with the song to create a feel.
His next release, "Añasco," feels like the perfect balance between “El Dorado” and “Ol’ Lucc” - dusty, bluesy but so lively. That instrumental! Those drums! WOOOOO. Sweet baby Jesus, that song is perfectly constructed and Nate Fox was nowhere to be found.
That's it. Three releases. I’ve never seen a picture of the man, he doesn't even have a music video, and he’s only three songs in to a potentially epic career. I can't tell if that is by design, if he's trying to do that anonymous thing like early The Weeknd, or if he's just dropping these songs like a baby in a basket by the river, but I'm convinced Alxandr Nate is destined for greatness. His music hits you deep and immediately. It has some serious weight to it but makes you so happy. I find myself with a wide, goofy smile every time I listen.
I’ve been rifling through the crates of the internet for three years now, trying to pluck out the needles in the haystack and I’ve gotten pretty good at it. I can spot talent from a mile away. Still, there are only a few artists who have captivated me, have made me a full on believer, from the first taste test. Anderson .Paak, Eryn Allen Kane and now, in 2015, I can add Alxandr Nate to that list. In just three songs his music stirred me. In just three songs, I felt his power in my bones. In just three songs he made me a believer.
In my mind Alxandr Nate is ready, but his follower count, his Soundcloud numbers, his Instagram account don't reflect it. His music is lightyears ahead of his clout. Alxandr Nate's music has that "it" that "pop." It doesn't cater to the radio but it's fit for mass consumption. It's not what's hot but it's seven hundred fire emojis. To me, that's what underrated is and what it means to be slept on.
It isn’t about a song off a GRAMMY nominated album not getting enough radio spins or Twitter love, it’s about music so good you're confused why the creator isn't yet famous. Underrated is about music so good it makes you want the world to hear it. You know Future, you know Bryson Tiller, butyou have to hear Alxandr Nate. Not because if you don't you're sleeping, but more importantly because I love sharing great music and want to share this great music with more people. If you leave 2015 with one new artist, it should be him. In that sense, in the real sense of what it means to be slept on, he is the most slept on artist of the year.
Alxandr Nate is ready for the world, I'm just not sure the world is ready for Alxandr Nate.