In the last few strains, we’ve seen a whole new strain of underground rap proliferating — hazy, murky, contemplative, staggering music. It’s an insular sound, one where rappers mutter to themselves in spoken-word cadences through dense, textured, jazzy instrumentals. This is the sound of rappers like MIKE, Navy Blue, Maxo, and Mavi. It’s the sound that Earl Sweatshirt embraced on Some Rap Songs. And today, we get a fascinating new example of it.
AKAI SOLO comes from Brooklyn and makes poetic, lo-fi music. Thus far in 2019, he’s already released two albums, From The Burning East With Love and Alone Throughout Heaven And Earth. Pink Siifu, from Los Angeles, is a prolific and knowingly enigmatic rapper and producer who works under a few different names; he won a lot of acclaim for the 2018 album ensley. Both AKAI SOLO and Pink Siifu guested on “Long Grass,” a track from the great new billy woods album Terror Management. And today, AKAI SOLO and Pink Siifu have come together on the collaborative album Black Sand.
Black Sand is a lurching, off-kilter album. Pink Siifu produced the entire thing under his iiye alter-ego. He doesn’t rap on it at all. Instead, AKAI SOLO raps thoughtfully over foggy, broken beat-mists. On first listen, it’s clear that this album is going to take many more listens to unravel, but it’s intriguing enough to be worth the effort. Stream Black Sand below.
You can buy Black Sand at Bandcamp.