Lo-fi rap embraces imperfection. Artists and producers utilize unmixed vocals, distorted drums, and tape hiss for their practical and aesthetic beauty. From RZA and Dilla to Earl Sweatshirt and Roc Marciano, the lo-fi scene is as rewarding and overwhelming a subgenre as any currently existing in rap. Welcome to the Lo-Fi Rap Snack Pack, a weekly column where we highlight four songs across the lo-fi spectrum.
“Lattice Method” — Fly Anakin feat. Medhane (@FlyAnakin, @Mehdonny, @Ohbliv)
Stand-up bass makes everything sound cooler. When those deep notes hit, every environment turns into a speakeasy thick with smoke and intrigue. Rapper Fly Anakin and producer Ohbliv—representing the Richmond, VA collective Mutant Academy—soak in these suave vibes of their latest offering, “Lattice Method.” Anakin and Brooklyn rapper Medhane bob and weave their way through Ohbliv’s jazzy atmosphere like the multiplication method they used to title the song. They are two halves of a greater whole kickin’ shit of their own accord. “It’s not a size matter when the brain splatter,” Anakin raps effortlessly. Everything about “Lattice Method” is the epitome of cool.
“Burt & State” — Stove God Cooks (@Stovegodcooks)
Stove God Cooks has to be one of the bluntest and coolest rap names of all time; it’s both a name and an action. The Syracuse rapper cooks up stories of drugs moved and the 100k hundred-dollar bills in his Louis Vuitton duffel. He’s the type of rapper to unironically release a project called Reasonable Drought and have it be entirely produced by Long Island’s favorite mack, Roc Marciano. On “Burt & State,” a standout selection, the duo’s pairing crystalizes in predictable yet potent ways. “When I hit the kitchen, I feel like Celine Deon,” he bellows from inside a Gucci fur coat. His compulsion draws in all attention like a black hole. With a co-sign from Busta Rhymes in tow, Cooks’ storytelling days have only just begun.
“Lighters” — vektrx (@vektrx)
The Internet is where memes are born and where memes go to die. The best (and sometimes worst) memes are passed around like currency across forums and timelines the world over. Ottawa producer vektrx understands this relationship better than most, as he proves on “Lighters”—a standout song from his latest project, Inside The Machine. Audio from various video memes swirls around cacophonous drums and glitchy noises, the makings of a song tearing itself apart for our amusement. vektrx straddles the sounds of electronica, trip-hop, and a busted Nintendo handheld to create a world more desiccated than our own but leagues more entertaining.
“Watercolor” — Sleepy Fish (@sleeepyfish)
There’s no denying the shimmer of water. At its calmest or its most aggressive, the sunlight reflecting off the water’s surface is an eye-catching moment. This glow is all I could think about while listening to “Watercolor,” the opening song to instrumental group Sleepy Fish’s latest project, Beneath Your Waves. The anonymous group lets their music do the talking for them; Beneath Your Waves is a story of “nostalgia and uplift” and the group’s second collaboration with the Netherlands-based platform ChillHop Records. “Watercolor” is driven by soothing drums, bass, and synths backed by subtle hums and coos which flow like water on a sun-caked beach. “Watercolor” sounds like a good morning waiting to happen.