The lo-fi aesthetic seems to be a novelty in today’s music scenes. Much like Hip-Hop, Punk music is seeing itself becoming more grunge in tone and heavier in the bass. The newer Vaporwave genre uses the lo-fi aesthetic to its full advantage, even strolling along with the advent of coded purple and hazy filters on music videos.
Hip-Hop and Instrumental have converged in the recent years to introduce a wide variety of styles and tones that were and can never be conceived in radio or television. The music is too obscure and lax for its audiences’ attention span. Allowing the internet to become the reservoir for creativity and innovation in artistic innovation, it was inevitable that new conceivable styles and genres would explode and expel toward a handful of mainstream sites.
Hip-Hop producer, Knxwledge, is the result of the artistic movement in this odd time of musical experimentation. His grammatically incorrect name is now a household novelty in the underground Hip-Hop scene, compared to eminent names such as Madlib and the late J Dilla.
His name has been tossed around with the likes of R&B and Soul singer Anderson .Paak, and rapper Earl Sweatshirt. His most prominent works to this date include his collaboration with Anderson .Paak on the Soul and Funk album, Nxworries, and leading production on the track Momma in Kendrick Lamar’s essential 2015 album, To Pimp a Butterfly.
Before the recent years of rising fame, Knxwledge was another Stones Throw affiliate touring with the likes of other Stones Throw artists such as Mndsgn, Samiyam, and The Gaslamp Killer. When perusing through his Bandcamp page, you could tell he was putting himself through work doing those years. In 2010, one project marking a point in his rise to fame was his humble SKR∆WBERRiES.FUNR∆iSRS VOL.3 EP.
The second project on his Bandcamp page, this twenty-two track long EP introduced the obscure musical trance young Knxwledge introduced. These tracks are more or less varied, flavorful vignettes that are pleasing to the ear and easy to comprehend. A half an hour of minute-long Jazz samples, twentieth-century movie references, and lower-end claps and drum snares call for a session of head-bopping and laid-back experiences.
The sounds of these tracks can only be acquitted to the likes of other Stones Throw affiliates. The beats are weird, catchy, and at some points, pretty. Knxwledge throws in his love for film, most conspicuously on the song Keepthtup, where over discorded piano samples and a lo-fi bass, dialogue from The Brave Little Toaster overrides the symphony.
Much of these tracks are essential nods to older or more classic songs, such as the track Kºultr∆ynin, which samples Mary J. Blige’s’ I Never Wanna Live Without You. One of my favorite sounds I’ve discovered in a long time is the first twenty seconds of the track ∆roundOurDoor, which is a soulful trance that cuts straight to an airy and drum-filled session for the next minute and a half.
There is a lot of technicalities and unique sampling and conducting that goes on in this EP that could last forever to discuss, but the main driver of this project is young Knxwledge’s taste in his sampling product. His taste in music is varied and expansive, which is important for any producer to have.
Knxwledge’s music reminds me of the more Madlib-influenced style, during his days introducing his Blue Note erudition and his infamous collaboration with New York rapper MF Doom. Being a part of the Stones Throw family, that would be expected of him. Simple beats with a catchy overtone that packs something that no other label would be able to discover.