So Many Shrimp Radio Special Live: Lululand Release Party

In anticipation of the immanent release of So Many Shrimp Radio Season 2 (Coming in November), Charne & I are releasing a special episode we did live from the release party for Lulu Be.’s Lululand EP (Apple/Spotify) earlier this month. We spoke with Lulu Be. and her producer Lanre during the party at Classick Studios on October 13th, and you can listen in below. (Recorded by Chill.) If you stick around til the end, you’ll also hear a brief interview with Lulu Be.’s DJ, DJ KO.

Stay tuned, though: the long-awaited Season 2 of So Many Shrimp Radio is incoming, sooner than you think, including episodes with: MC Tree G, Joe Freshgoods, DJ Victoriouz, SqueakPIVOT, DJ King Marie, and many more.

We’ll also be starting recording for Season 3 soon after it launches; invitations will go out in the coming weeks.

David & Charne

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peep show

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Lil Peep performed at Subterranean in Chicago last night, the first date on his first headlining tour. It was sold out well in advance, though Subterranean is not a huge venue; it wouldn’t surprise me if this were a strategic booking to get him concert legs for bigger stages in the future, and to foment hype. There was no opening act. It was also an all-ages show, and the vast majority of fans in the building had black x’s drawn on their hands. The bartenders looked bored.

The crowd, though, was very not bored. He descended to the stage from the second floor wearing a patterned shirt matching his skin tone, making him look shirtless before he was shirtless. The crowd knew the words to almost every song, and when the DJ killed the sound, filled the space with his words. Songs like “Girls” and “Beamer Boy” were rapturously received. In adopting rock’s textures, many of his songs pull back from hip-hop’s typically dynamic production, but the crowd enthusiastically bounced along regardless.

The bouncers, sternly overseeing the show like overworked parents, perpetually shined flashlights into the audience, occasionally kicking out teenagers for shoving. Peep ended the show singing along to Blink-182’s “Dammit.” I bought a tour t-shirt, which smelled kind of funky, as if it had been stored in the trunk of someone’s car alongside packages of uncooked sausage.

I don’t want to spend too much time in concert recap mode, because concert recaps are boring. But it’s worth mentioning that the show did draw something out of songs like “Crybaby,” which I’d never really appreciated until I could hear how it connected in a live setting, where wistful teen fans fall respectfully silent to let the stoned sad SoundCloud John Frusciante vibes linger.

My real purpose here is to say: Lil Peep is good. Not only do I like him, I think he’s making music that is genuine, refreshing, well-executed and emotionally real.

A good sign an artist is taking off is that everyone tells me who I should be listening to instead, and all of them recommend different people—none of whom really do what he does, or fill his niche. The smartest thing Peep figured out—which so few of the SoundCloud brethren with whom he’s often compared have—was to drop the Lord Infamous-derived flows that long ago lost their utility to convey menace, and instead embrace post-Sosa melodic stylings.* Peep just made the connection to pop-punk pioneered on records like “Love No Thotties” (& picked up by Uzi Vert) more explicit.

And he did so with a fully-felt appreciation for emo as the raw material to flesh out his world. This isn’t a genre I’m super familiar with, although I gather that some of the backlash to his Pitchfork feature was emo fans mad he’d been decreed “the future of emo.” I don’t know enough to say whether he qualifies as emo, although he’s obviously a fan of it, but I think he does qualify as rap music. Not only is his most frequent collaborator Lil Tracy the literal son of Ish of Digable Planets/Shabazz Palaces and Coko of SWV (do you get more of-the-culture than that? Here they are posing with Tommy Hilfiger, unearthed via Reddit). Not only was he brought into the game as a member of Schema Posse, a group formed by Three 6 Mafia producer J Green (see: DJ Paul “Cocky”). But its formal framework is hip-hop’s, and any attempt to remove him from that lineage only serves to marginalize the genre that made him.

Aside from arguing he doesn’t make rap music, critics have argued his appeal is “ironic.” Even people who seem interested in his work take this tack; Drew Millard called it “stupid” in a piece for Vice that otherwise feels like an endorsement. I still don’t understand what is meant by “stupid” or why music should be “smart”; that Peep’s aesthetic touchpoints aren’t critically feted & instead reach to derided mall punk / emo / “trash culture” forms suggests an inner artistic confidence, rather than a lack of intelligence. Resisting or ignoring inculcated, insular notions of “good taste” is a good way to make your work distinctive…and is artistically smart.

Irreverence towards “good taste” does not need to signify an ironic attitude towards art, and unlike the fake-enthusiastic Yung Lean fandom of a few years back, I don’t think his fans—again, mainly teenagers and two age-ed music writers (thanks to the Chicago Reader’s Leor Galil for the plus one)—are remotely interested in indulging in his music for the comical juxtaposition of a white person making rap music.** If anything, his music strikes me as quite sincere anyway: the lyrics have a straightforward earnestness that is decidedly populist. It is Cool music, but in a way which could translate as easily to a trailer park in flyover country as Brooklyn (if not moreso, judging by the handwringing I’ve seen in allegedly hipper corners).

When I expressed confusion to a friend about the kneejerk backlash after Pitchfork deigned to take him seriously, he suggested “the well is poisoned”—it has felt quite like that. A “Problematic”-stigma has overtaken any mention of Peep, as if his experience of hip-hop was somehow less authentic or more appropriative than, say, Mac Miller’s. If anything, I find his incorporation of rock music’s textures and emo samples and lyrical themes creates a more original—and more universally appealing—energy than Mac’s Lord Finesse remake or Odd Future-esque solo release. Or for that matter, G-Eazy’s Drake-lite, or Yung Lean’s thin Lil B emulation.

At the show, there was no fake-enthusiastic ironic meme action. Instead, teenagers sang his lyrics like they were their own emotions made real, or as if they were coming from the sensitive boyfriend they wished they knew. I’m not trying to deflect criticism of his work in the real sense; glorifying cocaine use is not a net societal positive, nor is romanticizing depression, and understanding what it is that appeals about his work is deserving of a measured analysis. But good lord—how is this different from the entire history of popular music? Has the conversation really become this basic?

* “To me, Chief Keef is totally punk rock. Like, the melodies he uses on his album– it’s like he’s not even rapping no more, he’s just singing. You could swap those synths and keyboards with guitars and fucking crazy drums and he’ll be a rock star.” —Danny Brown to Pitchfork, 2013.

**On a personal level I’m lightweight offended anyone would get that from my appreciation of rap music—I’ve been dismissive of Post Malone, Spooky Black, Yung Lean, et al from jump, whose appeal I’ve felt was relatively one-dimensional. Anything that attempts to connect through simple irony—that veil of “knowingness” that suffocates all other emotions in an effort to telegraph smug superiority—is anathema to me. Irony is a useful artistic tool but terribly one-dimensional as a worldview.

u don’t hear me doe

I could swear I remember watching DMG’s ‘u don’t hear me doe’ on The Box as a kid, or at least at one time I remembered that. Memories are memories of memories now. This song also appeared on Scarface’s The World Is Yours, leading to lots of mislabeling in the Napster era, but Face doesn’t appear on this record at all—just a bit of Rap-A-Lot cross promotion. Contra the video caption, as the opening four seconds say, DMG was from St. Paul, Minnesota. This originally appeared on his album Rigamortiz, about which I have little to say despite having heard it multiple times.

I’m really posting this to draw attention to the tie-top beanie he sports in the video. I’m surprised in the last five years of ’90s retromania that they never made a reappearance in any popular forum. 2Pac was definitely the rapper who sported them most often, as seen here in the “Gotta Get Mine” video (which I definitely saw on The Box).

This song has a timelessness both musical and material. This might strike some readers as blindingly obvious, but 2Pac’s continued relevance is shared by few artists; he seemed to recognize the heart of the matter more quickly than everyone else, and his ideological fixation—rather than narrowing the creative possibilities—allowed him to withstand the billowing winds of trends. Certain lines stand out as more or less relevant to certain eras—”only underground funk pumping out of my trunk” feels especially resonant today.

Warren G produced this record; I like how it sits in a funky space between West Coast and East Coast, that squawking saxophone giving a jazzier vibe than you’d typically hear on say a Twinz cut.  In 5th grade, I had a tie top beanie that was black & yellow striped. They sold them at Walgreens, I’m pretty sure.

Es Todo

Swagg Dinero is the brother of Jojo, an aspiring rapper who was killed in 2012 in the midst of a high profile YouTube beef with what was GBE. Dinero was recently released after spending over a year behind bars on federal gun charges, but his return is marked by a seeming seriousness and musical maturation that suggests he could make an impact given time and focus, provided he can stay out of trouble.

His “First Day Out” record and his collab with Vonmar are both worth hearing as well. “Es Todo” is the most obviously creative, as it’s rapped half in Spanish. Its low-key musicality is a refreshing contrast with the more brash drill style of an earlier era, suggesting thoughtfulness and control rather than aiming for force and shock. It’s still harrowing, but shows an interest in narrative detail rather than blunt force, as on the behind-the-walls details of Gucci remix “First Day Out”: “Wake up and brush my teeth, wait they fightin’ already/ it ain’t even eight AM and the environment’s deadly/ Ain’t no bangers up in here so grab a knife or a rock/ is you with it or you ain’t, just keep a lock in your sock.”

See also: P. Rico’s “Back Down”.

 

So Many Shrimp Radio Ep. 7 — Thelonious Martin

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Our seventh episode features Thelonious Martin, a young producer and DJ from Chicago. Thelonious is a member of the Save Money crew (Chance the Rapper, Vic Mensa), and has produced for everyone from Chance to Curren$y, Action Bronson to Mac Miller, and Pro Era to Odd Future. Thelonious—who also spent time in New Jersey—was responsible for all of the beats on Jersey rapper RetcH’s cult classic Polo Sporting Goods, and has released several of his own full-length projects.

His episode was easily the biggest party we’ve had yet, & he seemed to really get the spirit of the So Many Shrimp Radio experience, mixing old school, new school, soul, hip-hop and pop music. If you want to hear more from him, his instrumental project A Dozen for Dilla dropped just last month; and you can hear 2014’s Wünderkid on SoundCloud and iTunes. He also DJs around Chicago all the time, at spots like East Room.

Intro music for Part 2 by @_iLLeeT

Part 1 is a mix by David with Charne Graham.

Recorded live from Drake’s Place in Logan Square, Chicago, Sunday March 5, 2017 and engineered by Nick the Roommate. Co-produced with Swim Team.

Follow us on Twitter, IG, and SoundCloud: @somanyshrimp, @88nae88, and @KingThelonious (@theloniousmartin on SoundCloud).

Tracklist Below

Download:
Part 1 (David & Charne’s Mix)
Part 2 (Thelonious Martin’s Interview & Mix)

David & Charne’s Tracklist:
1. GoldLink feat. Brent Faiyaz and Shy Glizzy – Crew
2. Joe Gifted feat. Frontstreet – Water
3. YP feat. Twista – Stop
4. Hovey Benjamin feat. Marvel Alexander – Sweet Sixteen
5. Marcos Valle – Dia D
6. Tony Cartel – Less Is More
7. Arion Mosley – Bitch I Love To Trap
8. Leon Ware – Rockin’ You Eternally
9. Big Pun feat. Cuban Link – Must Be the Music
10. A-Wax – Check 1, 2
11. THEY. – U-RITE
12. Brian Fresco – I Meant It
13. Montana of 300 – Ice Cream Truck
14. CHXPO – BVNDGXD
15. Marcos Valle – Bicho No Cio
16. NewAgeMuzik feat. Dami Bones, Kamo, Prince & Notch – Da Beat
17. Egypt – Believe
18. The Jacka – African Warrior
19. Alwoo and Rondae – Halftime
20. DoobieDaLil – Let ‘Em Know
21. J. Stalin – Try Again Tomorrow

Listen to our earlier episodes here:
Episode 1 — DJ Nehpets
Episode 2 — Mano
Episode 3 — Saba
Episode 4 — DJ Oreo
Episode 5 — Valentine’s Day Special
Episode 6 — DJ Hoop Dreams

So Many Shrimp Radio Ep. 6 — DJ Hoop Dreams

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The sixth episode of features Nick Watts AKA DJ Hoop Dreams, a young DJ built his career throwing parties throughout the Midwest on the college tour circuit. He’s primarily known for the infamous College Craze parties, where a few thousand students were packed into spots like the Aragon theater to hear some of the hottest hip-hop of the moment. It was viral footage of a College Craze party that broke Chief Keef’s “Faneto” nationally, and it was Hoop Dreams’ Craze Fest party that was shut down by the Hammond, IN police department for inviting a Chief Keef hologram on stage.

Hoop Dreams is also currently Chicago rapper Dreezy’s current tour DJ, and has DJ’d for Chicago artists like King Louie, DLow, Tink, and Alex Wiley.

Intro music for Part 2 by @_iLLeeT

Part 1 is a mix by David with Charne Graham.

Recorded live from Drake’s Place in Logan Square, Chicago, Sunday Feb. 19, 2017 and engineered by Nick the Roommate. Co-produced with Swim Team.

Follow us on Twitter, IG, and SoundCloud: @somanyshrimp, @88nae88, and @Hoop_Dreams.

Tracklists below.

Download:
Part 1 (David & Charne’s Mix)
Part 2 (DJ Hoop Dreams’ Mix)

David & Charne’s Tracklist:
1. dinnerwithjohn – Pinstripe
2. Alley Boy feat. Ty Dolla $ign – RNGM
3. Gunna – Can’t Relate
4. ZMoney – Get Off My Dick
5. dinnerwithjohn feat. Phoelix – WBON
6. THEY. – U-RITE
7. Yung Tae – Yard$ale
8. ATL Smook – Bulletproof
9. Giftz feat. Tree – Nino
10. Chris Crack – Pine Cones
11. Future – Might As Well
12. Quelle Chris feat. Aye Pee – Buddies
13. Joe Gifted & Frontstreet – Water
14. Bump J – Bad Influence
15. Chris Spencer (Chris Crack & Vic Spencer) – Bacon
16. Chief Keef and Paul Wall – Bust
17. Groove Theory feat. Brand Nubian – Tell Me (Remix)
18. SahBabii – Chit Chat
19. Odunsi feat. AYLØ – Situationship
20. Lulu Be. – Rude Ting
21. Max B – Where Do I Go (BBQ Music)
22. Davido – Skelewu
23. Night Tempo – Koi

Listen to our earlier episodes here:
Episode 1 — DJ Nehpets
Episode 2 — Mano
Episode 3 — Saba
Episode 4 — DJ Oreo
Episode 5 — Valentine’s Day Special

So Many Shrimp Radio Ep. 5 — Valentine’s Day

For our first episode flying solo without a guest, Charne & I decided to celebrate Valentine’s Day with two mixes of hip-hop and R&B love (and anti-love) songs. So no matter whether you’re a “Playa Like Me” or want to “Be Alone” you’ve got a soundtrack. See what I did there? Nice.

Thanks again to Nick the Roommate for recording & engineering this project, and the Swim Team for co-producing. And everyone who came out to kick it last week.

Follow us on Instagram (@somanyshrimpradio), SoundCloud (@somanyshrimp), and Twitter: @somanyshrimp and @88nae88.

Tracklists below.

Download:
Part 1
Part 2 

Part 1
1. Rated X – Be Cool to Your Girl
2. Valee – Have You Seen Her
3. Yvng Swag – Fall In Luv
4. Mickey Shiloh and Rami – Woman Like Me
5. Ginuwine – What’s So Different?
6. Jessy Lanza – It Means I Love You
7. OutKast – Slum Beautiful
8. M&O feat. Chance the Rapper – Lift Up
9. Snypaz – Playa Like Me
10. Gino Soccio – So Lonely
11. Freda Payne – I Get High (On Your Memory)
12. Chief Keef – Baby What’s Wrong With You
13. C-Murder – Did U Hold It Down
14. Juelz Santana – My Problem (Jealousy)
15. Paris – I Choose You
16. Mozzy – What It Izzery Luv
17. Capone N Noreaga – Capone Bone
18. 702 – I Still Love You
19. The Avila Brothers – I Want You
20. Tamia – So Into You
21. Chinx feat. MeetSims – On Your Body
22. Simply Red – It’s Only Love (Valentine Mix)
23. SiR – Tricky
24. Korede Bello – Romantic
25. Stickup Kiddz – We Can Do

Part 2
1. Stickup Kiddz – We Can Do
2. Jade – Don’t Walk Away
3. Heavy D – Nuttin’ But Love
4. Christina Milian feat. Joe Budden – Whatever You Want
5. 112 – Love You Like I Did
6. Likkle Keish – Fuck
7. Ye Ali – Sing To It
8. Marvin Gaye – I Wanna Be Where You Are (Unedited Demo)
9. Kilo Ali – Got Me Eating Pussy
10. JS feat. R. Kelly – Love Angel
11. Yuna – Best Love
12. Wiz Khalifa – Call Waiting
13. Akinyele – Lovin’ My Bitch
14. A-Wax – Be Alone
15. Young Thug – Hey I
16. Tweet – Best Friend
17. Tink – Real Upgrade
18. Christina Milian feat. Twista – For Real
19. Too $hort feat. Lil Kim – Call Me
20. DJ Quik – Thinkin Bout You
21. Van Hunt – Down Here In Hell (With You)