SoundCloud remains as one of best ways to access unique and underappreciated music. 5 Under 5000 spotlights five artist who haven’t yet hit the milestone of 5000 followers on the platform, but really should’ve by now.
Troop came onto SoundCloud as an already fully formed artist, and that down to his rich musical background that forms his backstory – at age 5 he was leading choirs and at 13 he’d toured as a classically trained singer far away from his native Mississippi. He brings his musical history together and transitions it into a more modern trap/R&B fusion.
His discography highlights include the celebratory bounce of ‘Wave’, the effortlessly smooth, slide guitar pops of ‘Indeed’ and the bass dance and vocal hums of ‘Diamonds are A Girl’s Best Friend’ which is abundant in the hilarious imagery delivered with lovable cheekiness. Ultimately, it’s Troop’s bright personality and sticky cadences that are as addictive as the music underpinning it.
Kydd Jones follower count (1297) is considerably low considering all he’s accomplished – including high profile support sets for Justin Bieber, Danny Brown and Yung Lean, as well as consistent slots at SXSW. He’s a definite example of how an artists popularity can be grown away from SoundCloud without translating to high numbers on the platform, but his music still deserves more shine regardless.
The Texas based producer’s musical DNA include healthy doses of Drake, he shares a similar sing-rap cadence, ‘W R U’ centres around this sensitively crooned vocal line that feels characteristic of Drake, and he trades in the same atmospheric crawls. Yet his music feels more focused, dense and versatile, with ‘Dripped Up’ boasting a sense of drama in its quietly rising choral vocals and ‘SZNs’ featuring a soulful float over a clean guitar lick. Kydd Jones is certainly an artist carving out his own lane in a post-Drake world, even if that lane doesn’t include SoundCloud.
From exploring his social media platforms, there’s not a whole lot to say on Tim North personally, he comes from the Frank Ocean school of keeping your identity erased from public consumption, instead we’re left with the music to speak for him. The wailing synths of ‘Might Just’ reveals his abilities in providing thrilling vocals and effortless flow, the dense bass rumbles of ‘Fuck Luck’ tells us that he has a penchant for braggadocio and the chilling arpeggio dance of ‘ Vapours’ ensure we’re exposed to his charisma. Tim North’s music says all it needs to about his artistic identity, so revealing himself to the world remains unnecessary.
Like other Queens rap alumni (Nas, A Tribe Called Quest) Bryant Dope boast a storytelling ability that is simultaneously captivating and hard hitting, while his music throws-back to the old school without coming across corny or dated. He’s made his mission clear stating that “I’m trying to be the voice of the youth and inspire people. If I can do it, so can they” something it feels like New York sometimes lacking in the modern day as so many of the cities rappers look to the south instead.
Bryant Dope’s 2017 discography has demonstrated an impressive growing individuality, ‘ICE WATER’ has a beat skitter and ominous piano line that backs a Dope who is contemplating his place in his personal and musical life and ‘Maybe’ is a smooth, jazzy combination of restless bass, trumpet eruptions and piano chimes. The low key ‘Somedays’ is Dope at his most introspective as he takes stock of the personal relationships around him with lyrics like “My n***a just had a baby girl/Got me thinking bout what legacy I want to leave this world” proving what an evocative, emotional storyteller Dope continues to be.
With only an EP, BLANK, to his name, HH still traverses a lot of territory over 5 tracks. Thanks to a sing-rap style that recalls a huskier DEAN, HH manages to deliver sincere emotions despite an obvious language barrier, considering his music is predominately Korean language. ‘Walker’ boast a hazy atmosphere for a truly sensitive, captivating vocal performance, while ‘Gun Powder’ goes hard in delivering a lavish, trap-esque banger, allowing room for more aggressive, rapid raps. HH is proof that the SoundCloud platform is a healthy place for exciting Korean rappers.