Are you into some clean production and smooth-ass beats? Say no more, the lo-fi lineup at Paper Tiger's Courtyard has got you covered. Featuring skilled producers like Jknodic, Diego Bernal, and Ernest Gonzales, this venue is bound to bump some silky beats. While lo-fi hip-hop spread its roots from early East Coast rappers and producers like the Wu-Tang Clan and Mobb Deep, it’s recently undergone quite a resurgence — and re-identification.
Perhaps one of the most prominent influencers on this genre of music (as we know it today) is Jun Seba, otherwise known as Nujabes. With his jazzy piano melodies and funky breakbeats, Seba took listeners for a smooth ride while ushering modern lo-fi into the mainstream. Well, as mainstream as an underground genre of music can be during the golden age of the internet. However, let it be known that these beats have (and always will be) rooted in soul, rap, and R&B. Today, it’s still possible to hear those original roots in the music produced by contemporary artists.
For example, Jknodic’s beats are just oozing with the subdued, downtempo subtleties of early '90s East Coast creatives. Throw in an MF Doom verse or two, and these loops would cleanly settle in with the classics. However, if you’re in the mood for something with a little more electronic grit, the beats produced by Ernest Gonzales might be up to speed. While both artists may cultivate synth undertones in their work, don’t get their sounds twisted.
Whether or not you may be able to discern the differences, production is all about the subtleties. And in hip-hop, the subtleties are endless. The beauty of it lies within the fact that music never has to be created through one certain method.
There are hundreds of hip-hop dialects spanning the breadth of the globe, and artists like Jknodic, Arsentx, Urbangentleman, and Ernest Gonzales are always experimenting with their style. Who can lay down the smoothest sound; the most satisfying drop? Really, only one question remains: will you be around to listen when they figure it out?