Friday 6 December 2013


This is sounding so very sublime this morning. It's pretty cold outside, well, it's cold, like 1°C outside, but the sun is bright, coming in through the windows, hitting its edges and making long angles of light on the walls. For some reason, a nice fresh slice of rap goes with this kind of morning just as perfectly as next-to-frozen apple juice and a bowl of your favourite cereal. Ya it's a beautiful sleepy morning and this song 'HypeBeast' matches up just perfectly.

But who has made this lovely tune? It comes from 20-year-old Los Angeles-based rapper Toni Willz and producer AbJo, purveyor of smooth sounds and fine beats. Put these two elements together and you get something pretty magical – it's an exercise in a chilled out, horizontal vibe augmented with a few hits of nostalgic skate-rap's easy-peasy no-sweat attitude. I urge you to treat your ears to this right now.

With laid-back liquid precision, the sounds of the track flow out in a head-nodding medley of boom-bap flavoured drums combined with shiftling glitch-induced percussion and unrecognisable snippet samples that ripple in slow-motion kickflip aesthetic, backed up by subtle, glassy bass. It's wholly fresh yet summons the spirit of the ever-present endless summer – the kind of thing that oozes effortlessly out of sunny places like California. Field recorded conversations about being a "hypebeast" raise up like a kind of cultural backdrop for the song, and it certainly works in placing the song, i.e. giving it even more of a sense of coming from a place in space and time.

Toni Willz exhales his bars with nonchalant confidence, sticking with a po-faced low-register tone that flutters just around the same note for the whole song – exudes a certain swagger. His words defame "hypebeasts", presumably rappers completely wrapped up in hype and celebrity, citing himself as a contrast as someone who just lives their life and raps. For instance "All these new waves form like the ocean / No more one hit wonders, we need true devotion" – "In just reality you learn a life-lesson: true rappers live, hypebeasts go to heaven." The point is made with his "new Nirvana flow" making religious metaphors throughout, ultimately coming across with untouchable poetic lilt as someone who will continue to rap with consistent ear-pleasing quality.

Listen to Toni Willz on SoundCloud
Follow Toni Willz on Twitter

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