First Spin: Antwon Slow Jams The Apocalypse On New Album, ‘End Of Earth’
With beats from Big Baby Ghandhi, Pictureplane, more
Last year, Antwon released the Fantasy Beds mixtape (featuring breakout track “Helicopter” and production from Clams Casino, Javelin, Salem), plus the album My Westside Horizon, a lo-fi, Quiet Storm-informed affair, produced entirely by his buddy, Bad Slorp (who has since changed his name to DJ Sex Play). But Antwon’s latest, End Of Earth, best displays his singular personality — an affable guy who might have one of rap’s biggest, best-sounding voices, which he usually focuses on goofy jokes and surprisingly sweet bedroom raps. But he’s also got a layered persona, bouncing between likable loverman (Biggie at his most open-hearted), and lonely, pissed-off punk, bleeding out break-up songs (like Biggie on “Suicidal Thoughts”).
That Biggie comparison isn’t only because Antwon happens to be a big dude with a rumbling voice. If Biggie had been gleefully chasing Mtume down the rabbit-hole of ’80s R&B throughout Ready to Die, it might’ve sounded something like End Of Earth. A bass-heavy, murky instrumental begins the album and then a hardcore-inflected doom-rap head-nodder about feeling alone and hating everybody, titled “Laugh Now,” bursts through; “Cold Sweat” is a down-in-it break-up song, produced by RPLDGHSTS, best known for their work with Cities Aviv (“Black Box” and “Fuckeverybodyhere”); “Diamonds And Pearls,” which shouts out girls like Slum Village’s “Selfish” (if it had been set in a single area code), goes back to the Quiet Storm swerve of My Westside Horizon. “Hidden Room” is an Italo-disco rap with Antwon smoothly chanting like Kano vocalist Glen White. And don’t miss “Still Sittin’ In Hell,” where Antwon talks marvelous shit over the top of a yammering beat from Big Baby Ghandhi.
Last week, we premiered the video for Antwon’s Pictureplane-produced hip-house throwback “Living Every Dream.” Now, here’s his the album, End Of Earth. It’s out on Thursday, but you can stream it exclusively at SPIN, below.