“See hip-hop is not just one thing. As long as it feel good and it hits you in the heart, and you can feel what the person’s saying in that type of way, then that’s hip-hop.” So says Nasir Jones aka Nas, as sampled by Sweeps in the Boston-based producer’s latest single “not just one thing”. Sweeps hits on a special sound in his latest tune, a cerebral take on hip-hop. The space created within the mix is deep, leaving the listener room to work his or her imagination. Each piece of artwork associated with his music fits a singular space-age aesthetic, including the video associated with “not just one thing”. Sweeps makes all this himself.
Sweeps has a small following on SoundCloud. A few tracks, including a remix of Kendrick Lamar’s “DNA”, have a ton of streams. He also has a few tracks reminiscent of old Gramatik street bangers. Across his catalog, and especially lately, the production is noticeably neat and clean, while still maintaining an emotional edge. The mix downs are well maintained and his sonic material, from kicks to snares to synthesizer blips, are defined for the ear. This is much appreciated in the context of lo-fi hip hop, where - not to anyone’s discredit - clean mix downs aren’t always assured.
The special vocal sample alludes to a dynamic at play for a generation of new hip-hop producers. Hip-hop’s broken beat has become a means to communicate so many ideas, emotions, and aesthetics not associated with original or traditional hip-hop. While this may frustrate some, it offers a language and a means of expression to so many others. That’s the beauty of the style, as Nas recognizes. It’s less about standards or qualifications and more about the ability communicate feeling. “The rest is bullshit,“ says Nas.