If you were itching for the characteristic sounds of early Xxxtentacion or Xavier Wulf, Southern California is probably one of the last places you would think to look. Yet hip-hop collective LORD$OFDOGTOWN claims the desert as their home and carries on the legacy of a genre which faded out years ago. The 6-member collective is named after the film Lords of Dogtown (2005) which tells the story of the Santa Monica Z-Boys who pioneered aerial skateboarding in the 1970s; the rap group reflects the same innovative spirit by fusing elements of Memphis horrorcore, Florida trap-metal and Toronto R&B into a style that’s unique to their own. Their most popular song to date is “COMMA$”: a bouncy, fast-paced track which has reached almost 2 million streams on Spotify.
LORD$OFDOGTOWN (2019) is a tightly woven project that displays the group’s expertise in both rapping and singing; each member brings something different to the table which creates an arsenal of sounds at the group’s disposal. Songs like “MONEY$IGNGANG” or “FUCKED UP” focus on the abrasive, scarlxrd-esque delivery of members lighttpink, Andre Santi and $ixx while tracks such as “REAL” or “PANIC” feature mesmerizing, syrupy hooks provided by Petti and DKAI. Overwhelmingly though, we see both extremes being seamlessly blended into a rich, unified sound unlike anything I’ve heard before; this is most noticeable on tracks such as “SHOT$” or “TALKOFTHETOWN”. Given the sheer size and diversity of the group, the focused, clear-cut direction is shockingly consistent throughout the 18 song project. This unification is largely credited to the production, handled by Petti and abdel.kreation who both ventured briefly into EDM before solidifying their hip-hop sound. The beautiful mixture of eerie, ominous melodies and harsh 808s bolster the South Florida feel while complementing both the melodic crooning and hard-hitting bars. The lyrics focus on topics such as drug abuse, heartbreak and violence which are delivered with a dark demeanour unlike anything else coming out of the Palm Springs Area.
I’ma split your fuckin’ throat Wearin’ your blood like it’s gold Makin’ sure you never old, yeah Send ya body down a fuckin’ river
Among all the inspirations listed by the group members, the South Florida influence is by far the most noticeable. However, boiling their sound down into a single category doesn’t feel right; from production to ad-libs, LORD$OFDOGTOWN borrow sounds from all over the world to create a new, hybrid product. The result is an evolutionary step forward in the era of Soundcloud music and the creation of a brand-new category for artists to fall in. The sheer innovation of this project makes me extremely excited to see what they have in store for us in the coming years.
Watch the video for “Comma$” here: