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 Snack Pack, a weekly column where we highlight four songs across the lo-fi spectrum.
“Dollar Dr. Dream” — FlySiifu
Follow: @PinkSiifu, @FlyAnakin, @ANIMOSS_
Alabama-born rapper/producer Pink Siifu and Virginia-born rapper/producer Fly Anakin both exemplify hunger. Given their overlapping artistic characteristics, it’s somewhat shocking the duo only has a handful of songs together, but that will soon change with the impending release of a joint album under the name FlySiifu. Siifu and Anakin stoke the flames with their new single “Dollar Dr. Dream.” The pair trade verses over a hazy beat from California-based producer Animoss. They sound perfectly in-sync, flexing their status (“They like ‘Liv, when you gon’ buy the block?’”) and their world renown (“Niggas coppin’ music in Prague”) against all the odds. If this is only the beginning of FlySiifu, I’m excited to see where their dollar and a dream will take them from here.
“The Fall Out” — Stik Figa & Conductor Williams
Follow: @Stik_Figa, @CondtrWilliams
Stik Figa knows a thing or two about resilience. The Kansas-born rapper has been consistently dropping thoughtful gems on his own for years. Tomorrow Is Forgotten—his collaborative album with Missouri-born producer Conductor Williams—feels like a breakthrough, both rapper and producer hitting their stride on the same note. The album’s closing song, “The Fall Out,” rides by on a sturdy groove as Stik raps about how losing a record deal pales in comparison to having friends dead or in jail. Both Stik and Conductor are focused and fired up, determined to keep their streaks alive and avoid the fallout.
“Coffee Stains” — Curbside Jones
Curbside Jones knows how to keep audiences guessing. Gyakusou Vol. 1, the Texas-based rapper/producer’s latest project, was born from a connection between himself and the Japanese producer Ballhead, whose hectic boom-bap anchors the project. “Coffee Stains,” the EP’s standout single, exemplifies the duo’s relationship with Curbside catching slippery flows over Ballhead’s skittering soulful beat. They both sound like they’re surfing violent waves on boogie boards. The project is named for the Japanese term for running in reverse, and Curbside and Ballhead flip it to mean going against the grain.
“A Certain Zeal” — Blackbird Belle
Canadian producer Blackbird Belle has mastered the art of creating a musical universe. Enhasa, his latest project, is a listen that seeps into your bones and brain the way only the best instrumental music can. The project is named after the city from the 1995 video game Chrono Trigger and matches the game’s earthy tones with booming drums and guitar and string snaps. It sounds like a midnight walk through a rain-slicked city, the perfect song to throw on when all you want to do is drift.
The Lo-Fi Rap Snack Pack is available in playlist form on Audiomack, Apple Music, and Spotify. Please consider donating to these various racial justice organizations or The Okra Project, an organization dedicated to helping feed Black trans youth.