Bilby’s ‘Proceed’ sounds like what you would get if Lil B fronted American Football
Above all, I would say, the idea of diversity and heterogeneity has been the most rewarding and exciting quality to emerge from the flowering of Australian hip hop that we’ve seen in recent times. It’s the sign of a really healthy scene – and one which is going to be necessary for its future health. Put simply, it goes something like this: when a genre expands the parameters of what it can, what it can be, what it can look like, that then opens up new lanes for artists to explore previously uncharted identities, sounds and aesthetic directions whilst still being included within the categorical definition of a genre.
One of the most fascinating and idiosyncratic players to emerge from the scene has to be Sydney’s BILBY. A curious mix of 90s midwestern emo, Atlantan trap, cloud rap and the aesthetics of Australiana kitsch, Bilby’s style (which might be dubbed cute Australiana emo-trap) injects a sense of playfulness and tenderness into a genre not generally known for celebrating those qualities. Regardless of what you want to call it, it’s thoroughly charming.
And he deploys all those charms on his latest single, ‘Proceed’, the opening track off his forthcoming debut full-length, Shade, which is due out September 28th via. Yes Rave. Bilby’s release from earlier this year, the five track EP, Walking 2 The Lake, was something of an anomaly for the generally self-produced artist, handing over the production reins instead to Atlanta’s MELTYCANON, whose resume boasts work with FATHER and LIL YACHTY and who placed slightly more of an emphasis on the beat, drawing Bilby closer to the trap side of the spectrum. Shade, in comparison, is once again entirely self-produced, mixed and mastered by the rapper himself and acts as something of a course correction.
Like previous single, ‘November Nights’, ‘Proceed’ borrows a lot of its ideas from Bilby’s second wave emo influences, for an infectiously relatable ode to “not really knowing what’s going on”, where you’re going or how to even get there. Centred around some dripping, crisp guitar arpeggios atop fluttering hi-hats and lo-fi synth bleeps, ‘Proceed’ eschews your typical hip hop song structure in favour of a series of playfully melodic, mantra-like repetitions: “Please someone tell me what’s going on”, “Trying to figure out how to proceed with going on and on and on and on and on”.
It’s kind of like what you imagine might occur if LIL B fronted AMERICAN FOOTBALL – now just try and imagine what the whole album is going to sound like.
IMAGE: Mark Clinton via. Facebook