Browsing Tag

Dark Hip Hop

_sicko narrated ‘A MODERN HORROR STORY’ in his seminally twisted boom bap track

Hip-hop’s darkest hour struck when the UK alchemist of boom bap, _sicko delivered his PLAY ME EP on Halloween. After a chilling horror score of an intro track, which sets the tone for the rest of the EP, the standout single, A MODERN HORROR STORY, kicks right into macabre gear, following an anachronistic haunted music box prelude.

By painting himself as a twisted protagonist to portray the sickness that breeds online when the worst impulses of the human psyche are vindicated by nefarious echo chambers, _sicko (AKA Aaron Terror) provided a spine-chilling exposition on the proclivities of perversion that are worryingly prolific.

With a twisted lyrical style that isn’t out of the ordinary in death metal projected through a rap flow, which makes it all too easy to lock into the sickness within the horror imagery, A MODERN HORROR STORY is plagued with sickness that will make you stop, shiver, and think.

While some would undoubtedly rush to cancel _sicko, we can see the ingenuity within his creativity, which is on par with some of the greatest horror writers out there.

Stream the PLAY ME EP via Spotify.

Review by Amelia Vandergast

The temperature dropped as the UK-hip-hop visionary GADZ reflected on our ‘Cold World’ in his sophomore release

GADZ let the UK hip-hop scene know the score with his sophomore release, Cold World, by laying it all down on the melodic lines in the choruses and holding no prisoners when it came to creating a vignette of our increasingly inhospitable world, which necessitates a backbone of steel the amount of resilience exemplified within the dynamic track.

Going by the bars, you’d be forgiven for thinking that the Luton-hailing artist had lived a thousand lives. The depth of his introspective musing is an instant affirmation that he’s worth his weight in lyrical gold. Sonically, expect to be put through the evocative paces as you follow the eclectically sublime urban track through its seamless transitions from fiery bars and beats to soulful harmonies.

The track’s catchy, melodiously progressive refrain is a testament to his superlative talent. But much like his debut single, Fadeaway, which dropped on Valentine’s Day, and was subsequently backed by BBC Introducing’s Theo Johnson, it’s the magnetism in the resonance that will keep drawing you back to the track.

From a young age, GADZ developed a passion for music, a flame that was kindled by his father, a music educator and enthusiast who encouraged his musical exploration across various instruments. GADZ’s musical expedition truly began in his teens, fuelled by nights immersed in drill beats and crafting freestyles, which he would present to classmates. His relentless pursuit of mastering his craft led him to record his first track in a studio two years ago.

His talent has since been showcased at the O2 Academy Islington, earned him a nomination for Best Performance by RBE, and opened the door to BL@CKBOCK’s U18s Cypher 2022, leading to numerous appearances across Bedfordshire and an international fanbase who revere his artistic autonomy and willingness to put his heart on his bars. With a rapidly growing following, GADZ stands out as one of the UK’s most promising talents, poised for continued success as his artistic journey unfolds.

Stream Cold World on SoundCloud or immerse yourself deeper with the official music video, which premiered as a courtesy of GRM Daily on November 3rd via YouTube.

Review by Amelia Vandergast

Chiron Loxton rolled evocatively deep in his alt-rap track, The Importance of Incorporating Healthy Outlets

After delivering one of the hottest electro-house hip-hop drops of the summer with his single, Ibiza, the alt-rap trailblazer Chiron Loxton’s mood has changed with the weather in his introspectively raw single, The Importance of Incorporating Healthy Outlets.

Stunning, dark, and haunting in equal measure, the intricate instrumentals set the ambience and atmosphere for Loxton’s grimey rap bars to storm through, making it impossible not to lock into the candour and precision of the canter as the rap luminary attests to the necessity of creativity.

It’s a window into the experience of the artist, Loxton’s determination to keep his sanctity on the straight and narrow and perhaps most importantly, a manifesto on how to keep negativity at bay. If the Somerset, UK-hailing artist isn’t on your radar already, save space on it and await more hits which have the force to shift your perceptions into enlightenment.

The Importance of Incorporating Healthy Outlets dropped on October 13; stream it on Spotify.

Review by Amelia Vandergast

NTHN versed vulnerability for Mental Health Day in his shoegaze-hip-hop mash-up, The Meaning

For Mental Health Day, the UK songwriter, cloud sampler, and producer NTHN debuted his most introspective shoegaze and hip-hop-influenced track to date, The Meaning, on October 10 and subsequently delivered the most compellingly dark single of the year.

It has been a while since a rap track hit so hard it made an impact on my tear ducts, but NTHN’s command over evocative ambient melodies and the intimate vulnerability within the lyrics and delivery proved that there’s power in dragging your demons out of the closet and vanquishing them for all to hear.

Rather than keeping his sound solely in the hip-hop arena, NTHN uses hip-hop composition, sampling, and percussion around his influence from emo, shoegaze and metal genres to keep his sonic signature scribing authentically absorbing and always emotion-driven atmospheric alchemy.

“I started writing it when I was at my lowest and I am now releasing it when I’m much more in control of how I feel, and I am in a much better place. It’s my journey to accepting my own mental health issues and learning to live with them, not just exist, by looking for the meaning in the everyday. I would like to raise awareness of the need to speak out and, by sharing my vulnerability, hopefully, connect with listeners who might be able to use the track as a way of relating to how I feel and not feeling so alone in dealing with things.”

The Meaning is now available to stream on SoundCloud.

Review by Amelia Vandergast

Decuma unleashed their rogue existentialism in the spoken word viscerally experimental hip-hop track, basketball. ft. yska

Blurring the lines between poetry and hip hop, the atmospherically magnetic first single, basketball., taken from the Detroit rapper and musician, Decuma’s album, let’s play pretend, reaches the pinnacle of gritty dynamism.

Switching up the vocal tone to match the sentiments in each verse as they stay true to their brand of rogue existentialism, basketball. ft. yska is a defiantly disarming window into the mind of an artist committed to holding the world accountable for its prolific sins.

The instrumentals that seamlessly drift through cutting orchestral layers to dark and distorted bit-tune-ESQUE beats to nostalgic jazz hip-hop samples always fall in line with the provoking lyricism that makes no bones about reaching vindication by rehashing injustice.

There is little to tie each blister of candour together. When they are put together collectively, you hear a true account of how generational, romantic and institutional trauma can amount to breaking points for even the most tensile who walk amongst us. Decuma did Nietzsche proud.

Check out the official 360 Video that premiered on January 3rd on YouTube.

Review by Amelia Vandergast


Feel the temperature drop with the dystopic chill in Kabinyo’s industrial EDM single, I Am Collins

no more chasing ghosts by kabinyo

Atlanta-based producer and artist Kabinyo drenches his hip hop beats in dark and cinematically caustic atmosphere to a scintillating effect. His latest single, I Am Collins, moves past synthwave to firmly implant itself in the ambient industrial genre.

The mostly instrumental piece carries the futuristic simulated chill of an isolated dystopia, akin to the synthesised textures within the Sucker Punch Remix of Army of Me by Bjork. Despite his experimentalism, Kabinyo has celebrated ample success with his eclectically crafted instrumentals. His most successful single to date, Vogue, was picked up by Manimal Vinyl before being published by Sony. With his upcoming LP, he’s veered further away from hip hop towards rock and EDM; it’s a move that will undoubtedly see him go further in his already accoladed career.

I Am Collins is now available to stream and download on Bandcamp.

Stay tuned for the full release of the album no more chasing ghosts, which will officially release on January 6th.

Review by Amelia Vandergast

Get swept up in the minor key momentum in P wE$t’s cinematically raw hip hop single, Smokin N Tha Rain

‘Smokin N Tha Rain’ is the cinematically melancholic standout single from P wE$t’s debut album, Permanent Timing. Despite the heavy sentiments vulnerably relayed through the rap bars, the up-and-coming artist was riding high on the new wave of hip hop in the wavey yet sharp hit which allows you to feel every ounce of urgency in the delivery.

Starting with a striking minor key piano melody and letting the atmospheric alchemy build from there, being consumed by the visceral emotion and intellectual instrumental layering is no option. P wE$t is easily one of the most underrated emo rap artists on the underground right now. Give him some love, and that will come back tenfold as you appreciate his ability to turn introspection and experience into universal resonance.

Smokin N Tha Rain is available to stream on Spotify.

Review by Amelia Vandergast

What Friedrich Nietzsche is to philosophy, Vontred is to hip hop with his dark and gritty single, Nihilistic Deathbed

Starting with the question, do you ever feel like you have overslept your life? Vontred’s standout single, Nihilistic Deathbed, from his 2022 album, Dark Corners of a Broken Mind, is definitively a release that will comfort the disturbed and disturb the comfortable.

For hip hop fans who feel like their life can be defined by the voids in it, the up-and-coming artist is bound to bring a world of resonance and nihilistic solidarity. I, for one, can fully get on board with the bars that breed solidarity with every line delivered in the snappy, dominant, no holds barred track.

Stylistically, Vontred’s sonic signature in Nihilistic Deathbed isn’t worlds away from the gritty, grime-y, bass-heavy dark hip hop vibes in DMX’s more visceral tracks, but clearly, his sound is of his own making as it wraps around his lyrical themes that Friedrich Nietzsche would be proud of.

Nihilistic Deathbed is now available to stream on SoundCloud.

Review by Amelia Vandergast

Jakezar waxes lyrical on his legacy in his dark rap track Blood in My Veins

At 21 years old, the Sydney-hailing rapper, Jakezar already has an eight-year spanning discography. By the time he was ready to drop his latest fervent single, Blood in My Veins, with his producer Cavula Beats, he was primed to make a fiery mark on the airwaves.

The dark experimental beats set a cinematic tone from the prelude before Jakezar blazes in with his bars that would be enough to make Sage Francis’ head spin. There’s also a fair amount of thematic reminiscence between Blood in My Veins to the production of GRACE by Sage Francis. But, judging by the dynamic range in Jakezar’s back catalogue, he moves to the flow of his expression and creativity and is never one to assimilate.

Blood in My Veins was officially released on November 23rd. You can check it out on YouTube.

Review by Amelia Vandergast


Klowniac went down the rabbit hole with his playfully pathological single, Mad Hatter

With a twisted vibe that sits somewhere in between Insane Clown Posse and the carnivalesque Avant-Garde brand of Fable Cry with a few dark pop tendencies thrown into the mix, Klowniac’s take on Melanie Martinez’s Mad Hatter, is a true embracement of autonomy. The playfully pathological lyrics around the helter-skelter sonics are an alchemically enlivening sensory experience for the mentally perturbed.

The airwaves are littered with tracks that advocate individuality. But there is still a very narrow parameter of how neurodivergent you can be and be accepted in a society that is all about mental health acceptance until you act TOO weird. The Klown-inspired multi-instrumentalist, songwriter and performer created the ultimate earworm for anyone who knows just how limited tolerance actually is.

Mad Hatter is now available to stream on Spotify.

Review by Amelia Vandergast