Skip to main content

Lo-Fi Rap Snack Pack: Blu & Exile, Asher Simmons, Sadhugold, & Animist

Week 18. Four more must-hear lo-fi records.

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.

“Roots of Blue” ⁠— Blu & Exile

Follow: @HerFavColor, @ExileRadio

On “Roots of Blue,” veteran California rapper Blu charts his evolution over producer Exile’s swinging production. The first half of the song sees Blu finding himself in humans from across time—starting from “the first man standing upright / holding a stone in my hand”—and denouncing slavery as the starting point of Black history (“We came before Columbus dumped us off the slavery boat”). Eventually, the record becomes a lengthy roll call of prominent Black icons from Frederick Douglass and Harriet Tubman to Maya Angelou and Miles Davis. Blu’s gruff voice and elastic flow elevate what is, essentially, a list of names into a statement of purpose, delivering a much-needed injection of Black pride.

“It Is What It Is” ⁠— Asher Simmons

Follow: @asherswisdom

Scroll to Continue



5 New Albums You Need to Hear This Week

New albums from Doe Boe, Hotboii, Kweku Flick and more? We have a complete rundown of all the new releases you should make time to hear.


5 Songs You Need to Hear: Best of the Week

Tap in to brand new songs from Megan Thee Stallion, Pabi Cooper, Doechii, Nija, and KIRBY.


5 New Albums You Need to Hear This Week

Press play on new albums from Tiago PZK, Flo Milli, Icewear Vezzo, Ms Banks, and Reggie & O'Kenneth.

How you need isolation during isolation? / I’m not on vacation,” British rapper Asher Simmons says plainly to begin his single, “It Is What It Is.” The dovetailing of coronavirus with Black Lives Matter uprisings happening across the world has Asher, like many of us, on edge and considering his surroundings. “Gone are the days where I run from the pain,” he claims. Asher breathlessly recounts the killings of Trayvon Martin, Walter Scott, and George Floyd, among several others. Asher doesn’t have solutions to these problems. Instead, he vents upward over Graham Hobbs’ somber beat. “It is what it is,” he says, sounding anything but convinced by his own words.

“Saturday Morning Tesseract” ⁠— Sadhugold

Follow: @sadhugold

Philadelphia producer Sadhugold’s beats are timeless. “Saturday Morning Tesseract,” a standout from his beat tape Golden Joe Season Onereleased in May via Nature Sounds—sounds stuck between an AM radio dial and an interstellar transmission. Flutes and steady drums pass between laser blasts and what sounds like a UFO. Sadhugold channels early 2000s-era MF DOOM by balancing the zany with the serene across the song’s two-minute length. “Saturday Morning Tesseract” sounds like a cartoon, a mirror image of our reality as warped and saturated as the yellow-booted character on the album’s cover.

“Nostalgia” — Animist feat. Negassie

Follow: @Animist_, @xonegassie, @Jedos_

As we learn on “Nostalgia,” a standout song from their latest album Paradigm ShiftOklahoma rapper Animist understands the power of hindsight. After an urgent intro from vocalist Negassie, Animist uses Australian producer Jedos’ sunny soul sample to embrace the happiness they’re able to find: “Wishin’ I could relive last year / Probably in a couple years I’ll be wishin’ I could go back here / Always tryna backtrack and never planning for my future.” Back pains from working every day are balanced by time spent with the friends Animist wishes they could get back. The past is a balm for both Animist and the listener, preparing all involved for an uncertain future.

The Lo-Fi Rap Snack Pack is available in playlist form on Audiomack, Apple Music, and SpotifyPlease consider donating to these various racial justice organizations or The Okra Project, an organization dedicated to helping feed Black trans youth.



5 New Albums You Need to Hear This Week

Press play on new albums from Tiago PZK, Flo Milli, Icewear Vezzo, Ms Banks, and Reggie & O'Kenneth.


10 Rappers You Should Know Right Now

Tell all your friends about Ken Carson, Strick, Cochise, Dougie B, Lil Kayla, and more. Audiomack introduces you to the rappers who are up next.


“Music Was Going to Be My Way Out”: An Interview With JeriQ

Rising Nigerian artist JeriQ has made his dreams come true. He breaks down his journey for Audiomack World.


5 New Songs You Need to Hear: Best of the Week

Explore new songs from Fireboy DML, Latto, Adekunle Gold, Rowdy Rebel, and Tiago PZK.


5 New Albums You Need to Hear This Week

Press play on new albums from Omah Lay, Yo Gotti and CMG The Label, Steve Lacy, Lil Silva, and Jordan Sandhu.


5 Songs You Need to Hear: Best of the Week

Catch up on new songs from Burna Boy, Yo Gotti, Fivio Foreign, Sech, and Jay Wheeler and Mora.