In the past year, there’s been hundreds of new producers coming out and taking the underground by storm, with long-overlooked veterans like gin$eng finally getting his deserved shine, recently having his hands all over the long-awaited “GoodnightLovell,” and frequently collabing with Tracy. Among that we’ve seen super groups like Neilaworld come together, gathering a massive roster of 50 of the most talented producers and rappers, and getting just about every placement known to man. But among the recent success among tons of producers, there’s still a lot of overlooked and underappreciated talent, waiting to be unveiled to the world.
The man responsible for some of my favorite and most-played songs this year is none other than Fish. I first heard of him 10 seemingly short months ago in April, when he produced one of Kevin Kazi’s best songs, “FBI,” in collaboration with Goonie. Since then, he’s gone on a streak, producing for some of my favorite artists, like 909memphis, Bigbabygucci, Hatesonny and Sol Jay. In just those 10 short month’s he’s showed an unmatched versatility and work ethic in the underground, honing in on his sound and showing a wide range of styles he’s capable of. From dancehall as seen on Sol Jay’s “senses,” a indie-guitar track on “Street Lights,” to a moshpit-inducing beat like “Don’t be Him,” or a poppy, funky beat like “Prove It,” name any style you want and Fish will go above and beyond your expectations.
Whenever I’m in a rut, whether that be creatively or mentally, the first person I look to drag me out of it is none other than mixed matches. His music is hard to put into words, everything he does is so different from everything you hear nowadays, from his crooning melodic vocals that are full of emotion and hit home to me, to his alluring, lush production that drags you into his masterfully crafted dreamland. Sometime’s his production is vibrant, or poppy (i.e ifieverfeel, peroxide, absence)and other times, it’s more mellow and euphoric as seen on “melationin,” and “ether.” No matter what route he chooses to goes down, he always impresses and does it in his own way, the mixed matches way, always adding a hint of everything in every beat of his. Aside from his solo work, it’s become increasingly apparent that literally everyone that get’s their hands on a mixed matches beat craft their best songs on it. From BBY Goyard, Hatesonny, and 6 dogs to joe croskey, messiuh, and nappy 01′, they all lay some of their best vocal and lyrical performances on his beats, delivering immensely beautiful melodies as seen on The Ugly Truth pt.1, Guccy Armor, Hold me Down, about u, Take It Slow, and Sea. It seems that mixed matches has the midas touch, everything and everyone he touches turns to pure gold, and with his increasing resume, and the astonishing evolution of his sound, he’s set for another exciting, prosperous year this 2019.
Deluxe is responsible for some of the most innovative and creative production I’ve heard in recent times. Similar to fish, he can do practically any style imaginable and add his own little twist to the selected genre. His melodies are nothing but soulful and euphoric, drawing you in with lush chords and making you stay for these amazing beat progressions and transitions, especially on “misplaced” and his captivating mash up of Carti’s – “Bustdown” and Lix – “Happy Ending” on “Superlove 92.” His ability to consistently innovate never ceases to amaze, as his latest release, “restless” with LIX shows he holds the capability of taking risks for his art. His obscure decision to release it as a low quality screen recording of his own track somehow works, and it has a similar effect to viral Carti snippets. It sounds more blissful and beautiful than in CDQ, and only truly special artists have that ability. a.dluxe has proven himself to be a musical genius and has a very bright future in front of him. He’s already grabbed the attention of legendary producer, Icytwat and they supposedly have a collab tape on the way. He’s progressing at an insanely fast rate, conquering every sound and genre known to man and consistently creating new, creative sounds that will live on 25 years into the future.
No matter how good or bad my day was, I still always end up on areyoudeaf’s soundcloud, surfing through all his beautiful beats that somehow always make me feel calm. They take me to a place of solitude and comfort, plunging me into a alternative dreamland of sorts, where everything is blissful and feels like a constant state of euphoria. It’s not often that someone’s music makes me feel so at one with myself, but areyoudeaf’s songs do. He never disappoints, he consistently sets the bar higher for himself with every release, even plunging into rapping, with his first real song “it’s not me, its u.” His instrumentals sound it could be apart of a anxiety-driven thriller like Gasper Noe’s latest film “Climax” or even a colorful, vibrant drama film like the Safdie Brother’s 2017 hit “Good Time.” areyoudeaf is just getting started in terms of his music, and I hope he gets more recognition in the future, he’s one of the few producers out right now that I could see doing scores for films someday. Songs like voices in my head, sextapes, are those your brothers, DEV11, Interlude I and his im not sorry remix are just many glimpses of his masterful talents and with his consistent, quality output and constant creativity, I cannot wait to see where he goes in the coming years.
ric (fka riclaflare)
The first time I heard one of Ric’s beats, it was an otherworldly experience. The year was 2016, and I was having my daily listen to “Count It Up” by Playboi Carti and in the related tracks was none other than Ric’s legendary “Money Counter” remix. I was mind-blown, completely astonished by the colorful, vibrant melody that made me feel like I was being sent to heaven and this was the intro song. From there, I went through the rest of his catalog, from his various legendary remixes and flips of Fauni songs, to his eventual collabaration with Fauni on arguably his best song “I Don’t Know,” and the beanman on “Capsule.” I immediately fell in love with his spectacular and unique production style, from the glossy melodies to the amazing chord progressions that have only gotten better with time. Just look at his recent work with Mixed Matches on the last two installments of the soon-to-be historic “trinity_” series of EPs. His work with him is surreal and ethereal, crafting some of the most beautiful and lush production that puts me in a complete trance, transporting me to a peaceful utopia. There’s no other producer quite like ric in the underground, and I hope he gets the respect he deserves as one of the best living producers in recent memory someday.