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. Listen to the Lo-Fi Snack Pack playlist for these selections and more.
2020 is almost over, and the Lo-Fi Rap Snack Pack has accumulated 91 songs, 234K streams, and dozens of hours of digging over the course of the last 10 months. Instead of my usual four picks this week, I’ve decided to pick my 10 favorite songs from the playlist this year. Thanks to everyone who’s had the time to dip their hand in the bag. I hope you’ve found something comforting within the hellscape of this year. And most importantly, thanks to every artist featured for the music. There’s no Snack Pack without you.
Here’s to many more hours of digging in 2021!
Drew Dave — “Twittr.Beats”
Maryland producer Drew Dave harnessed the connective power of the internet to create a timeless slice of boom bap.
Stove God Cooks — “Burt & State”
Syracuse, NY rapper Stove God Cooks and mentor Roc Marciano team up to bring you the best song about feeling like Céline Dion while cooking crack this year.
Drakeo The Ruler x JoogSZN — “Fictional”
Spending two years in jail didn’t prevent Los Angeles rapper Drakeo The Ruler and producer JoogSZN from recording an incredible LAPD diss track over a jail phone.
Lucian — “Bittersweet” feat. Froya
The sleepy groove of producer Lucian and vocalist Froya’s single “Bittersweet” is as comforting as a hot chocolate after a snowstorm.
payforluv — “icarus”
Nomadic rapper payforluv (formerly known as duckie) put his happiness first as he spreads his wings over a winding vocal sample.
NIGEL — “Ghostin’”
Connecticut rapper NIGEL deftly charts a love found, lost, and longed for in a chain of deleted texts and vivid memories.
Pink Siifu & Fly Anakin — “Razberry”
On “Razberry,” Pink Siifu and Fly Anakin get meditative about love and survival, solidifying the bond between one of the best new duos of the year.
Kerlo — “Moon Ring”
The soupy mix of drums and strobing synths on Kerlo’s immersive single “Moon Ring” sound like footsteps on the surface of a new planet.
Brainorchestra. — “FOES”
New Jersey rapper/producer Brainorchestra. and producer Roper Williams join forces to lay shit talk over menacing drums.