Beats sold over Soundcloud may have a huge influence on hip-hop in this day and age (if it be Chano’s will, at least), but the appeal of in-person, local, on-the-ground collaboration is tenacious. It certainly shows in Madison’s hip-hop output, where producers ranging from young upstart Engelwood to platinum-certified DJ Pain 1 keep a hand in working with locally based MCs, even as they seize broader opportunities.
Tone Madison contributor Henry Solotaroff-Webber recently surveyed the state of hip-hop production in Madison, talking with nine artists who’ve played an active role in the genre’s recent resurgence in town. We learned a lot while planning and editing this story. For instance, relative newcomer BHAIRAV has been playing Indian percussion since childhood, the hands-on studio duo of LaBella and Norwei have a vision board, and there’s a rapper in town named Yung Gravy who is apparently obsessed with combining Thanksgiving food and sex acts.
What’s most important, though is the variety of sounds, from knowsthetime’s increasingly atmospheric, textural work to Pain 1’s mastery of muscular and driving beats. Additionally, since Henry’s story came out, a couple of the folks mentioned have put out new work: BHAIRAV and rapper Ru’s Son Of The Moon project and Evaridae’s full-length multi-MC workout Every Day. Speaking of which, Evaridae’s “Trill Dimples,” from his Stress Bless EP, is the first thing you’ll hear on this week’s podcast episode.
Henry and Tone Madison editor Scott Gordon sat down to discuss some standout tracks from Madison hip-hop producers and examine the places they occupy in the local hip-hop landscape.