While most of our readers tend to focus on the big name releases and their accompanying 1-Listen reviews, I often find myself anxiously awaiting the music that is delivered by relatively unknown, promising newcomers. I like discovering something fresh, unraveling the mystery, and getting to find out if this artist I've spent months watching is worth further investment. A new song from Kendrick or Kanye is exciting, but I more or less know what I’m getting. The possibility of greatness is much more exciting than the proven commodity. Which is why our Under 1,000 series is so much fun. It’s not always about the music that the artists we select have previously released but what they will release in the future.
I often try to select artists who have built up a sizable body of work -- at least one project -- because it's important to have something to stamp with my seal of approval, but today's selections don’t have much music to their name. The music that they have released is so convincing, however, it has me eagerly anticipating more. See for yourself.
Kevin Clarke (@KevinxClarke) - 113 Followers
With only 113 followers, four Instagram posts and one song uploaded to his Soundcloud, Kevin Clarke is greener than Oscar the Grouch separating the garbage from the commingled recyclables. That one song, though? Man, is it extremely convincing. I don’t normally gravitate toward atmospheric pop/R&B cuts, but this song drew me in from the jump.
Immediately intrigued, I naturally kept listening and really came to appreciate the track's light, airy vibe. I love how Clarke glides over the beat on the song's chorus; his understated vocals really work well. After a few days I found myself hankerin' for more. It's only one song, but Clarke challenged me, won me over, and still made me excited for what’s next. That’s all you can really ask for.
DUTCH (@blkwdutch) - 150 Followers
Toronto artist DUTCH has twice as many public songs as Clarke, but I don't know him any better. I first heard the above record, “No Measure,” and dug it enough to keep it in rotation for an entire week and share it with several friends.
Similar to Clarke's lone record the production on "No Measure" is top notch, his vocals settling atop the beat like freshly powdered snow on a mountain. I couldn’t wait to hear more, but when I pressed play on “MNNSLTR” I became confused.
Well damn. This song sounds like it belongs to a completely different artist. While “No Measure” goes down smooth, "MMNSLTR" is jarring. It's an acquired taste, but the passion and desperation in DUTCH's vocals really help to set off the vibe that his lyrics bring.
DUTCH doesn’t tweet much, and his Tumblr is pretty mysterious, but the music is there and that’s the most important thing. I’m not sure which of these two differing styles is his norm, I’m not sure if a norm exists at all, all I know is I’m very, very eager to hear more.
a race of angels (@araceofangels): - 128 followers
a race of angels has released the most tunes from this three pack of artists, but he/they are also the most unknown. Truthfully, I don’t even know if it’s a “they” because under band members on Facebook there is only “yes.” It could be a “he” or a “she” or even an “it.”
Despite being an underground-approved act, there is no major buzz and AROA only has 128 followers. Just like his identity, the music is also quite enigmatic.
a race of angels’ new three song EP, released last week, is different. Very different. I honestly don’t know how to describe it. The vocals give it an almost theatrical feel, but the production is very textured and spaced; it's an interesting, swirling combination. It’s obviously jazz influenced, but I’d be hard pressed to call it jazz. It has a colorful sound but it’s not pop. There’s a little bit of R&B but not anything like Clarke. Even after listening to the EP, I’m not sure what to make of it.
The EP is just a lead up to an LP that is schedule to drop this summer, I think I might have to wait until then to really find out just what is going on, but that doesn’t mean I won’t stop trying to decode it in the meantime.
So there you go, three more dope artists under 1,000 followers. They are just as unknown than any of the others we've featured, but these selections have an extra dash of unknownosity to 'em. These artists are unknown in more than just followers. We can't quite see them yet, but that doesn't mean we shouldn't be looking.
Lucas Garrison is a writer for DJBooth. His favorite album is College Dropout but you can also tweet him your favorite Migos songs at @LucasDJBooth.