Evan Dale // Dec 28, 2017
One word: bounce.
The constantly changing and expanding world of music brings with it reform and adjustment to all styles and genres. In recent decades, no sides of the music spectrum have bent, broken, and been rebuilt more than hip-hop and electronic. Both genres are most representative of the times, and the times, to borrow terminology from one of history’s greatest lyricist’s, they are a-changin’.
With the seemingly ever-expanding popularity of hip-hop and electronic in combination with music's rapid explosion of artists and styles thanks to the internet, the two genres have seen a tremendous amount of sharing, borrowing, and collaboration. The days of one-beat-fits-all DJ Whoeverthefuck production have been largely replaced with the electronic experimentation of professional producers who have become bigger superstars than the DJ's and producers of the past, and in their own right, have out-famed many of the artists that they produce for. And that's because their art - the engineering of music without the necessary collaboration of vocalists and lyricists – has blossomed into one of the most important genres in all of music history. And when the unmatched talent found in the school of modern beat-makers does choose to collaborate with microphone artists, more often than not, they choose to do so with versatile hip-hop and R&B musicians. Modern hip-hop artists, just like modern producers, are wide-ranged in their understanding of music. In fact, most rappers have an experience-based knack for production themselves or are even truly the complete package: a rapper, a vocalist, and a producer all rolled into one very competent artist. Think about some of today's biggest stars bound in definition to either genre. Hip-hop juggernauts like Kanye West and Travis Scott to name only two, have denoted a majority of their careers to production, and not to lyricism, yet remain boxed in by the labeling of hip-hop. On the other side of the coin, renowned producers like Metro Boomin' and Childish Major though predominantly known for their roles as instrumental masterminds behind the beat, occasionally flex their talent as vocalists and lyricists.
It's gotten to the point that it's no longer rare for a solo artist to create every aspect of a dynamic song independently, and the results have left music as a whole completely changed in a manner that makes genrefication an archaic and unrepresentative remnant of the past.
In the place of traditional genres have appeared a plethora of unique stylings constructed of the broken framework of music's shaken foundation. Of these unique blends handling their bid to become music’s next large-scale movements, one of the more intriguing and quick growing subsets is a high-energy sound formed of all the fun loving methods and stylings of hip-hop and electronic that can best be described with synonyms of the word elastic.
If I had to apply these nine adjectives to the work of a singular artist, I would adorn them upon the production, the sound, the genius of Mr. Monte Booker. There are few artists that have ever seemed to have as much fun making music as the 20-year-old Chicago producer, and all you have to do to get the same impression is to listen. Unique, wavy melodies mixed of electronic keystrokes and self-sampled vocal wisps usually find themselves over a series of innovative drum techniques building towards a cheeky drop. Though many of his songs are instrumentals, he occasionally blesses his production and his audience with his talent as a singer. Providing vocals for his songs gives him the opportunity to build a finished product from the ground up with the collaboration of the artist who knows him best – himself. After all, what better way for a producer to ensure the finished product is representative of the original vision than to entrust it with different creative levels of one’s own talent?
This doesn't mean that Monte Booker is a stranger to collaborative efforts with other artists. He got his start as cofounder, producer, and vocalist for South Chicago music collaborative, Zero Fatigue featuring longtime friends Smino and Ravyn Lenae. In his short career, he has also enlisted the featured efforts of lyrical god Mick Jenkins, and a collection of other Chicago rappers like Phoelix and Jay2.
Booker’s unique sound and growing fame will only leave him with an eternally lengthening list of artists looking to feature on his production. One of the artists that would be most fitting of a Monte Booker collaboration is Virgina rapper, GoldLink. Fond of his own bubbly, high-energy vibes, GoldLink has been standing out from the masses of hip-hop since his first release Creep in 2013. In 2014, he released his debut project The God Complex and found large-scale success with tracks Ay Ay, Bedtime Story, and When I Die. His sophomore project, And After That, We Didn't Talk, exhibited his talents and introduced him to a global audience of fans drawn to his quick flow, storytelling ability, and unique voice. Altogether he has a sound impossible to replicate. Because of it, GoldLink tracks and feature verses don't sound anything like those of his counterparts and any fan familiar with his work will instantly recognize his presence in collaboration. His most recent and most successful album to date, At What Cost, released earlier this year, shows a matured GoldLink with an even further defined sound that would make him an even more valuable addition to a collaborative effort.
More than anything, what separates Monte Booker and GoldLink from the rest of the blended hip-hop/electronic universe is that they have both emerged as leaders of the emerging high-energy, elastic vibe. That similar sound and fact that Booker is predominantly a producer with vocal chops and that GoldLink is a lyricist with a production background makes it clear why a collaborative project between the two would seem so natural. It would also be versatile. Bouncy Booker-heavy production with GoldLink influence would lay the framework for fiery GoldLink bars, smooth Monte Booker vocals, and elastic collaborative efforts on the hook. Their unique yet similar styles would simply amplify one another and in turn, result in the perfect auditory representation of the word bounce, getting everyone listening out of their seats and on to the dance floor.