Independent Spotlight is a continuing series on Stewart’s blog. The series revolves around independent artists and bands sending their music to Brett to review. No band is promised a positive review, and all music is reviewed honestly in an effort to better independent music.
In this morning’s edition of the Independent Spotlight, we shine our gaze on $kinny Bragg, an independent hip hop artist who hails from Mississippi. His latest studio endeavor is ‘EPH N,’ a track that exhibits what he describes as “sludge rap,” a style that’s “raw enough to make Gordan Ramsay mad.” Is the single worth adding to your indie music collection this winter? Let’s dig into it and find out.
$kinny Bragg cites his adoration for 808 drum machines, a piece of hardware that’s become quite the classic amongst contemporary hip hop performers. (I’d argue this was kicked off heavily by Kanye West championing it in 2008.) $kinny Bragg uses the 808 to create a ‘slow and heavy’ beat - again, that’s why it’s called sludge rap. It’s an absolutely fascinating sound, and it truly exudes a level of sheer intensity and rawness that I haven’t heard in quite some time.
That sludge style also takes influence from EDM and dubstep, I think, and the bombastic, thick synthesizers explode out of one's sound system with incredible gusto. $kinny Bragg’s lyrics are pretty tactfully performed, and the dynamic between his composition and his vocals is compelling. $kinny Bragg’s lyricism walks a bizarre line between low brow and surprisingly insightful banter - he’s definitely unique unto himself.
Underneath the main composition, there is an excellent electronic piano riff, but beyond that, what you hear is what you get on ‘EPH N.’ I actually dig this about $kinny Bragg. His music doesn’t get inundated by pretentious production or thirty layers worth of intricacy. It’s fiery and spirited, and $kinny Bragg puts it all out on the table with his performance.
I’ll give $kinny Bragg this: his brand of “sludge rap” is unlike anything that’s come across my desk in recent months. I love that he’s found his own unique niche and is experimenting within it. Indie hip hop fans owe it to themselves to check out his sound, if not simply to just to hear ‘sludge rap.’ One can only hope that $kinny Bragg continues to be creative and odd in his execution, because what he is doing suits him well.