It’s been a minute since our last #Under1K column, and each time that happens, I regrettably forget how much I love digging through SoundCloud and hearing a fresh voice.
While a lot of our faves become jaded as they rise from independent obscurity to streaming stardom, you can hear the hunger in the voices of many rising talents found on streaming platforms like SoundCloud and Audiomack. That insatiability simply cannot be replicated elsewhere. They want this, and that simple fact alone keeps these platforms going—its ethos intact—and keeps us looking.
As always, for June’s edition of #Under1K, I did the digging so you don’t have to.
Basi (@basi00) — 499 Followers
Consistency is always key, and for Basi, that seems to come in the form of a steady stream of releasing music. In less than a year, he’s released two projects—2017’s Son of the Moon and Skylord—and in just the last two months, he’s dropped off three loosies.
Of those recent cuts, the standout is “Quicksand,” which finds the Oakland native delivering his accentuated, crisp flow over stripped-down production. The track serves as Basi's flex anthem and the kind of song—particularly from a rapper in the early aughts of his career—that can be intensely stimulating for a growing listener base. Even with his unhurried flow, you can hear the voracity and desire in his voice.
GRIP (@gripss) — 609 Followers
Atlanta-bred MC GRIP’s 2017 album PORCH is a meditation on the concept of the front porch and everything that comes with it. The project’s title track serves as a fitting introduction, giving listeners a taste of the situations that occur on one's front steps with the homies, from drinking and smoking to shit-talking, eating, and scheming—and everything that leads to.
In that way, the tape is immensely accessible, perhaps even normal. One of the tape’s most successful songs is the YGTUT-assisted “Liq & Licks,” which finds the pair scheming about “plotting on a lick.” Maybe you and your friends didn’t go to such lengths to come up quickly, or maybe you did, but one thing’s for certain—we can all relate to GRIP having “dollar signs on his mind.”
Shaqdi (@shaqdi) — 784 Followers
This past month, London-born artist Shaqdi released her first project, Colorless, a five-track EP that is more vivid than the title suggests. Throughout the tape, she gives us a sense of her range; still, opening song “Better” is the set's most sonically engaging offering.
While most of the EP has an ethereal quality, “Better” is grounded to the production's bass and vocal shifts, the song becoming both a come-on and an affront when she asks, “Am I better like this?” While it’s a simple directive, it sure does the trick.
Vince Ash (@1022vito) — 210 Followers
Vince Ash’s rough, lo-fi raps are exquisitely demonstrated on his eight-track 2018 debut Do Or Die. While his experiences don't necessarily reflect the typical day-to-day, the tape’s candor makes clear that this is the Hammond, Indiana native’s life: somber, gritty, and like the project’s title suggests, very much do or die.
The tape's second cut, “Text Free,” is particularly infectious. Peppered with ad-libs, the track is a menacing peek into life on the streets in the 219; hustling, stacking, and getting locked up. The beat is equally as grimy as the lyrics, its repetitive, eerie tone drawing you closer and closer to Ash’s story.