Last week (July 13), speculation spread that independent music champion SoundCloud, the measuring tool for our Under 1,000 Followers series, was gearing up to go out of business, with only weeks left until it completely ran out of cash.
One day later, Chance The Rapper, who has long been a staunch proponent of the streaming platform, caught wind of their supposed imminent demise and swooped in to save the day. Now, after one apparently fruitful call, the service is "here to stay."
We don’t know exactly how Chance saved SoundCloud—Did he provide funding to bail them out? Is he just using his own powerful platform to advocate for SoundCloud and its suite of indie artists? Did he save it by dropping "Big B's" with Young Thug?—or if it's even true, but for the time being, SoundCloud is still alive and available for me to spend even more countless hours lost in its abyss, foraging for music and digging up artists that deserve your attention despite their small follower counts.
These are four more artists under 1,000 followers that deserve your ear.
MarcLo (@marcus-lomax-531459653) — 889 Followers
Like Miami native MarcLo’s debut single “SWNGN” suggests, there’s definitely a ‘swing’ sound present throughout his music (he also uses this first song to reference Montell Jordan’s “This Is How We Do It,” which is a win in my book). Though he’s only released five songs to date, MarcLo has been able to further grow his brand by continuously remixing records and designating them SWNGMIXes, like "SWNGMIX," which is a remix of—you guessed it—"SWNGN."
Leaning more toward R&B and soul, MarcLo is still trying to find his groove and his niche in music, but so far, it’s working. One of his latest songs, “Coogie Sweater Nostalgia,” forgoes the ‘swng’ in its name, but you can still hear the same aesthetic from MarcLo—a Pharrell-esque funky, bouncy beat amplifying his classic R&B vocals.
J-Hop (@jhop-4) - 411 Followers
St. Louis has always had a deeply creative and energetic music and arts scene, with rising St. Louis rapper Smino serving as the latest example. Following suit is an emcee by the name of J-Hop, who has been steadily chipping away at his own rap career, releasing three EPs since 2015. His latest project, 70V, released earlier this year, is also his most successful to date. The simultaneously gritty and smooth 8-track EP features several standout cuts, most notably “GO!” and “EMPt’d.” Like the EP as a whole, “EMPt’d” mirrors the same dichotomy of hard-hitting raps and buttery singing flows, while J-Hop uses the metaphor of a car to illustrate he doesn’t know where he’s going—just yet.
TrevDeshon (@trevdeshon) - 404 Followers
What Los Angeles rapper TrevDeshon lacks in lyrical depth, he more than makes up for with flow and beat selection. On his recently-released record, “FLEX,” Deshon rides the beat with precision, drawing out and emphasizing the end of each line, cadence picking up as the song does, his tone remaining relaxed. The same can be said for “Everyday,” its murky Quise-produced beat propelling his flow forward. Deshon knows exactly the right moment to speed up or slow down, and it's always in a laid-back manner. He's no Kendrick Lamar, but the man understands the importance of cadence.
Rome Castille (@romecastille) - 571 Followers
On his latest release, The Sixty Series, Los Angeles emcee Rome Castille intuits the same lax attitude as TravDeshon (perhaps it has something to do with their home state’s inherently easygoing nature). Castille instead employs more serene production for his musical backdrop, full of graceful, jazzy and soulful samples. The tape focuses on his coming-of-age, acting as his initiation into rap. “Hezzo,” featuring Trevor Wesley, is one of the standout tracks from the self-proclaimed "rhyme curator/fashion icon," a medley of braggadocio, memories, first loves and disappointments unveiling his ability to effortlessly meld singing with rapping.