It’s the same story every time. A local artist starts to catch a buzz on the blogs, major labels come sniffing around, and then they make the move—to San Francisco or Oakland or Los Angeles.
It’s hard to hate on the decision. After all, San Jose can be a pretty sleepy place and it certainly doesn’t have any kind of national—let alone international—recognition.
It seems that only the weirdest of the weird stay—at least in spirit—regardless of how much acclaim they receive. Stoner metal titans Sleep are still proudly rocking “San Jose” on their Facebook profile.
The same goes for bizarro 408 emcee Antwon, who recently announced he is joining the tastemaking outsider label, Anticon, and has dropped a new single, “Luv,” from his forthcoming EP, Double Ecstacy, slated for an April 1 release. While his publicist says that the hardcore-punk-musician-turned-rapper is currently living in Los Angeles full time, he still reps San Jose on his Bandcamp page.
While Antwon has long been a mainstay on the best-of and most-anticipated lists of hip music publications, such as Pitchfork and The Fader, which debuted his new single, he has yet to garner mainstream acclaim. That may be due to the fact that he is pretty far out there. Although singles like “3rd World” and “Helicopter”—from End of Earth and the Fantasy Beds mixtape respectively—showcased a refined taste for alternative-yet-catchy beats and an infectious, Biggie-esque flow, the rest of his material was far too strange to appeal to a general audience.
But the world of pop music has veered sharply into left field in the past few years—with artists like The Weeknd scoring big hits with dark songs, spun over sinister, syrupy beats. If “Luv” is anything, it’s surely that.
“Show me love/in the booty club,” Antwon flows assertively over a menacing, buzzy bass patch. The song is ostensibly about looking for affection in all the wrong places—namely at a strip joint while high on controlled substances. And the word “love” gets bleeped, as if the concept itself is profane.
It’s grim, to be sure. But it also knocks. In 2016, that’s looking to be a winning combination.
‘Double Ecstasy’ EP
April 1, Anticon Records