If you have been paying much attention to the world of hip-hop and rap in the last few years, it is very likely that you’ve heard of Open Mike Eagle or Danny Brown. They aren’t new kids on the block, they’re these talented hip-hop loners that defy expectations and bend the genre in new and interesting directions. Thing about it is that we can not discuss the source of these rapper’s most successful works without talking about the key element they have in common: Paul White.
White has a long history of instrumental work and pairing that work intimately with hip-hop. A collaborator on Open Mike Eagle’s Hella Personal Film Festival, he provided melancholy backdrops for Mike’s insight. As one of the main contributors to Danny Brown’s 2016 Atrocity Exhibition, he made this distorted and jagged stage that was the perfect place for Danny’s mental break to be recorded. Paul White has a lot of diversity in his talent, tune in to his work and you will not regret it.
The Accelerator EP is made of four tracks– two featuring Danny Brown, and the other two being the instrumental versions of those songs. Danny Brown’s psychotic delivery and manic flow is always a beautiful thing to witness, but it is very apparent that the actual momentum of these songs (and they have a lot of momentum) is not driven by Danny’s rapping, but by Paul’s production. Paul excels at using a surprising mix of instrumentals, unpredictable drops, and letting the listener pick up something new every time they listen. The first time I listened through Accelerator I was caught off guard by the fuzzy, rapid quality of the music, but by the second listen through nuances were becoming clear. The big picture is this fast moving wave of sound to capsize and drown you, but if you look closer, the brush strokes aren’t hidden, and it is clear how all this wild energy is perfectly and precisely, in fact, calculated.
Initially whenever someone says that they make hip-hop beats there is this expectation of a boom-bap 90s style, or a bass-drowned early 2000s bling-tribute, or a boozy trap flavor that has become so popular in the modern era. While a lot of this music is fun, interesting, and valuable to the art, when you put it next to something new and exciting it really makes the whole concept of hip-hop beats seem played out. Accelerator is like a warning sign to lazy beat makers, rap purists, and traditionalist old heads everywhere: Beware: Thin Ice.