Since it feels like we’ve exhausted SoundCloud, we’re flipping the script: only artists with under 1,000 followers on Twitter will now be eligible for #Under1k.
Over the years, Twitter has introduced us to a number of new artists and has become a constant source for new music discovery; hopefully, this transition will act as a refresher and bring even more emerging musicians into the fold.
For our May edition of #Under1K, we have a robust offering of artists from across the U.S., including two honorable mentions—artists we included in our first round of selections when SoundCloud was still our main source for crate digging.
As always, we do the digging so you don’t have to.
Follower Count: 822
DAISY is refreshing. There’s something about the Los Angeles artist that expressly reminds me of the movie 10 Things I Hate About You, evoking late-'90s, ska-pop-punk sonics, infused with California sunshine. Her 2018 EP, Have A Snack, is particularly luminous; a string of five songs aimed at trying to find the right love.
It’s unclear how many members are in the singer’s band—the EP cover suggests five—but what we do know is that the instrumentalists strike an excellent balance of elevating DAISY’s vocals and shining a light on their own.
The EP has several special moments, in particular, the songs that encompass dual tracks. Around the 2:45 mark on “Still Here,” the band pulls back, and the song shifts into a staccato rhythm. A deep, manipulated voice appears, rapping; though it’s not obvious whose voice it is, it feels safe to assume it’s one of the band member’s. After roughly a minute, DAISY reappears, with the beat reverting back to the original, layered harmony. From there, the song slowly unravels.
This same approach is taken on the last cut, "Daydreaming," where around the 2:30 mark, the mood suddenly switches as the band picks up the pace. In these moments, their talents are showcased just as much as DAISY’s; and while six minutes might seem a bit long for a song in 2019, it's a treat to hear the band fully flesh out its artistic vision.
Follower Count: 764
Following the release of his debut EP, 2017’s deSerVe, vocalist and producer Maesu shared only two songs in 2018: “Late Nite News” and “Nothing 2 Lose.” With this limited selection, the Birmingham, Alabama native made clear his vocal talents sit between singer and rapper, with an emphasis on the former. And he’s good at it, too: on both tracks, he employs a laid back flow, quickly delivering the beginning of each line before drawing out the end.
On “Amen,” his first single of 2019, Maesu and guest feature Kari Faux kick off the chorus together. Though Maesu’s tone is more delicate, his flow will distinctly remind listeners of Chicago favorite Saba. Kari appears again during the second half of Maesu’s verse, with the ending of each line reinforced by her sultry attitude. Also joining the fray is Supa Bwe, whose trademark emotive vocals surface during the second verse; the timbre of his voice and falsetto becoming a sonically disparate companion for Maesu and Kari.
Above all, “Amen” is a hymn—a solicit to some higher power—evident in the Supa vocals, “I send prayers up, I just hope that they reach.”
Follower Count: 97
Dre’es is a versatile vocalist. In 2017, the Wilmington, California native released his most streamed track to date, "WARM," which has since accumulated 389,000 plays on SoundCloud and over 7.6 million listens on Spotify. Like the title suggests, the record exudes a good feeling; the kind of experience while driving down California’s coastal Highway 1.
Though his 2018 project, When The Curls Grow, also showcases his adaptability—Dre’es oscillates between singing and rapping with ease, with most of the songs taking on a darker tone—his post-mixtape releases are most striking. The 2019 loosie “Hot” provides a more experimental sonic landscape for the vocalist, and we hear Dre’es truly rap as the track slowly builds and quickens, with both the beat and his flow continually switching gears.
Dre’es' best work is his grittier, lo-fi, and sampled tracks, which, as expected, are only streaming at present on his SoundCloud. Among them is “DECEMBER 15TH, 365 W 6th St SAN PEDRO (FREESTYLE) thank u earl.,” on which we find Dre’es exercising an aptitude for wordplay over a sample from the Soul Superiors—basically a loop of the last 20 seconds of the beat for the Earl Sweatshirt Some Rap Songs track “Ontheway!”
Follower Count: 679
Desta’s latest project, 2018’s FOR THE SUMMER., is a snug fit inside the modern alt-R&B lane. Throughout the mixtape, the DMV vocalist uniformly uses Auto-Tuned vocals, with an electronic music influence and a murky conceptual tone. In fact, Desta, at times, leans so far into the genre, he has a habit of adding the names Bryson Tiller and Tory Lanez as hashtags connected to the project on SoundCloud.
While the tape sounds a bit homogenous, there are several moments where Desta finds success—in particular, on opening cut and the project's most organic record, “Can’t Call It,” where we find Desta quickly finding his pocket over a dutchboy beat. Though the song doesn’t exactly display his lyrical depth, it's a nice change of pace to hear Desta shed the alt-R&B marker.
That isn’t to say the genre isn’t working for him, though. Desta appears to have learned a thing or two since releasing the project, as evidenced by his most recent loosie, "This and That," where we find his voice warbling over a grim, nebulous bass as he sings about a woman who’s caught his interest.
Immediately alluring is Kadeem’s raspy voice, but it's a combination of passion and his nostalgic, soulful, boom bap beats that will keep you invested for the long haul. Kadeem's 2018 project, The Game Is The Game, is his testament to the East Coast rap canon. The title, which can be likened to the phrase “It is what it is,” indicates that while he accepts what he cannot change, he knows he has the power to shape his career. This is a theme Kadeem explores throughout the tape’s seven tracks, in particular, on “To Each His Own” and “Either/Or.”
Given the sound Kadeem has established for himself, Chicago-based producer Thelonious Martin is an ideal match. On his latest single, “Wide Margins,” Kadeem raps over Martin’s pared-down, drum-fueled beat, sparing no one, his bars cutting through any opponent like a serrated blade. Kadeem doesn’t even stop to take a breath. And though there is no chorus, we’re given something of a reprieve more than halfway through the song: his vocals withdraw a bit as he sits back, his lyrics just as feverish as his dreams have always been.
Camline's dissonant, layered vocals and simple production style is the common thread in his music. His 2018 EP, summary, is an examination of electronic aesthetics, brimming with glitchy, ethereal synths and discordant, molded vocals. Without even pressing play, a quick glance at his SoundCloud showcases a vocalist and producer who is comfortable adventuring into many genres, such as rap, folk, soul, and indie rock, and producing most—if not all—of his music.
On 2019 loosie “Don’t Mind,” Camline employs layered and jarring vocals, moving on to a languid flow before the stacked vocals make a return. Even though the song feels melancholic, there’s a palpable warmth; Camline is down, but he’s not out.
On newly-released records like “black water (archived)” and “Pheasants,” Camline again expresses that same sort of wistfulness. On “black water,” his falsetto sandwiches a build-up of Auto-Tuned, slurred, dynamic vocals, echoing against each other as the record closes. “Pheasants,” on the other hand, is a quick jaunt: the single begins with a skit where Camline and a friend are talking about a girl before cutting to a funky, electronic, bouncing bassline that the Chicago by way of Minneapolis artist raps over.