Not all hip-hop is a fusion of raunchy remarks and bombastic beats (though I will admit that I enjoy E-40’s “Tell Me When To Go” more than your average 19-year-old). Many contemporary hip-hop artists have discovered creative methods to blend elements of other genres such as pop, reggae and acoustic music to create rich, wholesome productions.
If you’re looking for a break from the conventional hip-hop playlist composed of mainstream acts like Lil’ Wayne, this one’s for you.
“Paint” — Sol
Seattle-based musician Sol Moravia-Rosenberg — known as just “Sol” — couldn’t have titled this song more appropriately. “Paint” is a work of art. It’s great for both an impromptu dance party or an energetic homework session. The track is dynamic from the start, but perhaps most commendable are Sol’s lyrics — they’re succinct, yet memorable: “‘Bout to turn a dream to a million / But we don’t chase cream / So we feed it to the children.”
“Fame is For A–holes” — Hoodie Allen
Instead of writing a paper worth 25 percent of my grade, one night during my freshman year I chose to attend a Hoodie Allen concert. The El Rey was swarming with gum-smacking, curfew-breaking 16-year-olds. My academic responsibilities hung over me like a dark cloud. Despite my feelings of guilt, I had one of the best nights of my college career. Hoodie Allen’s charisma and love for the stage translated into a thrilling concert experience, and after that night, I went from being a casual listener to a true Hoodie fan. Admittedly, Hoodie Allen’s music is not exactly as intelligent as his background: Though Steve Markowitz, a.k.a. Hoodie Allen, graduated from the University of Pennsylvania and worked for Google, his lyrics typically focus on taking a woman’s clothes off. This track is from Hoodie Allen’s 2013 album, Crew Cuts, and features the popular recording artist Chiddy Bang.
“Floats my Boat” — Aer
David von Mering and Carter Schultz, hailing from the beautiful state of Massachusetts, look as good as their music sounds. These two handsome gentlemen create melodies with an earthy, beachy tone — it’s the kind of music you want to listen to as you cruise PCH with your windows down and sunroof open.
“All Night Longer” — Sammy Adams
Comparable to the sounds of Asher Roth, 26-year-old Sammy Adams is best known for the radio-hit “L.A. Story.” His lesser-known, 2012 release, “All Night Longer” is equally as impressive and ridiculously catchy. When the chorus drops, it’s hard not to sing along: “Tell that bartender, make that motherf-cker stronger / I wanna go all night longer.”
“Lady Killers” — G-Eazy
Don’t worry. The title of this track is misleading. Unlike Eminem, who rapped, “B-tch Ima kill you / You don’t want to f-ck with me,” so passionately that half of America was convinced he was going to turn out to be a homicidal maniac, good ole Gerald Gillum is simply talking about how he’s the ultimate ladies’ man.
G-Eazy earned his music industry studies degree from Loyola University and collaborates with artists such as Hoodie Allen, Mod Sun and Devon Baldwin to consistently bring imaginative hip-hop tracks to the music industry. Give the rest of his album a listen, and it will become clear that G-Eazy is quite the intelligent man who can rap about topics other than drugs and alcohol.
“Swoon” — Timeflies
“Electro Hip-Pop Dub-Something.” That’s the self-proclaimed genre of Cal Shapiro and Rob Resnick, the duo behind Timeflies. This duo shot to fame with the help of YouTube. Like many of the aforementioned artists, Cal Shapiro is well-educated: He earned his degree from Tufts University. Since then, he has been performing at colleges across the country.
“Cool and Calm” and “Are We There Yet” — Dumbfoundead
Dumbfoundead is the moniker of Los Angeles native Jonathan Park. His story is as refreshing as his music: Born to a South Korean couple in Buenos Aires, Argentina, Park migrated to our very own Koreatown at a young age. His meaningful wordplay in “Are We There Yet” tells his remarkable life story: “Mamma had a dream, but she gave it up for me / And my sister raising kids, man that ain’t a cup of tea / Got herself a job, an apartment and a car / But the struggle isn’t over so I keep doing my parts.”
Rini Sampath is a sophomore majoring in international relations (global business). Her column “Traveler’s Tracks” runs Mondays.
Follow Rini on Twitter @RiniSampath