I went shopping at my local streetwear store yesterday and ended up talking to the sales associate about hip-hop.
“You hear that new J. Cole,” I asked.
“You know, I’m one of the few who’s not really a fan. I know he says good messages, but his music just doesn’t do it for me,” she said.
I didn’t even trip. “So, who do you like?”
“I like Kevin Gates. I like Lucci. I guess you could say I like more ‘gangster’ hip-hop.”
Yesterday was a wakeup call for me. I realized I assumed that every hip-hop fan is concerned with the “Mumble vs Conscious rap” argument. Hop online to see that everywhere, from the artist themselves, to comment sections to podcasts, everyone is giving you their two cents on what real hip-hop is. It passes the time, but it creates real barriers for artists who are just trying to put their music out, and music fans who just want to enjoy themselves.
Hey, Alexis, this one’s for you!
Quin NFN, 17-year-old Austin, Tx native (ayyyyy!), is a hot iron. Whether he’s talking about his girl on “Lil gangsta”, flowing over industry standards in “BODAK BLUE” or mobbing on “Revenge”, Quin NFN snaps on every track. He employs the triplet flow, which is so good at making you rock your shoulders, but he makes it his own by sending it to you as intensely as he can. In an interview with Elevators, he says: “All I’ve seen as a youngin is stuff anybody in any hood in America has seen so I rap about it because I know they don’t have a choice but to feel it.” I think his intensity comes from the need to rep his people, and the stories he’s lived.
What I find most interesting about Quin NFN is when he says he’s been writing raps for 7 years. In that same amount of time, Soundcloud has influenced the game, Migos introduced the triplet flow, and opiates have swept through the country. How does this get translated into the music of a teenager who’s so early in the game? His Soundcloud shows the resulting dexterity; he switches from trap anthem to love song just as quick as the game itself has changed. The old school streets and new school pop are alive in Quin NFN, and as time passes, he’ll only continue to be in a position to add a different take on the industry’s current sounds.