This week, Spotify officially declared to “drain” a genre, but what does that mean? When the remix culture made most of today’s music fluid, you only have to look at other genres generated by Spotify, such as hyperpop and glitchcore, to understand that the drain is not both a distinct sound and a community of artists working on the same online site. spheres. In this case, “drain” refers to the music created by the avant-garde boy band born on the internet Drain Gang, consisting of singers Bladee, Thaiboy Digital and Ecco2k and producer whitearmor.
Since forming in 2013, the Swedish collective have amassed a cult following for their underground rap strain Extremely Online. Originally part of the ten-boy group Smög Boys, the four eventually decided to break up and form Drain Gang, which saw them sign with YEAR0001 and regularly team up with label mate Yung Lean and his Sad Boys collective. Inspired in equal measure by Chief Keef, Lil B and Waka Flocka, the group rose to prominence on the cloud-rap scene before carving out their own mercurial sound that includes AutoTune croons, ethereal beats and lyrics like existential, capturing sound. disillusioned young people everywhere.
Known for their elusive yet enigmatic online presence, the members of Drain Gang are edgy underdogs, whose lo-fi aesthetic has inspired a distinct style among its legion of super-devoted fans, not to mention drops of merch (Claire Barrow is a frequent collaborator) that sell out in seconds. The band’s eclectic style has inspired countless imitators – mainly baby-faced Soundcloud producers who yearn to follow in their footsteps.
With countless fan pages, Reddit threads, and self-referential meme pages, Drain Gang may be the last thing we have left of an IRL subculture. So much so that drainerdom has even taken on a pseudo-spiritual significance, its fan base imbuing Drain lore with an almost Gnostic mysticism that propels its members from meme fodder to mythical creatures. In the words of Bladee, “if being Drainy is a sin, Lord, forgive me”. So here’s a guide to Drain Gang in five key albums. When you’re done, read Dazed’s interviews with Thaiboy Digital and whitearmor.
D&G is a 17-track monster album that marks the band’s debut under the name Drain Gang (they previously went through Gravity Boys). Still firmly in their cloud-rap era, D&G is perhaps their most lyrically straightforward, with sparse lo-fi production and muted percussion establishing their drained sound.
Last week ice dancer was mysteriously removed from Spotify, prompting Reddit fans r/sadboys to go into overdrive. The album is so loved, in fact, that there’s even a Change.org petition to bring the album to Instagram music. Produced by RipSquad, ice dancer is Bladee’s third mixtape and features thought-provoking lyrics that, fused with chilling nihilism, sound more jaded than previous works. Album’s Biggest Track ‘Be Nice To Me’ Sees Bladee Singing Rap “I don’t wanna talk if you don’t talk to me niceagainst a bubbly and uplifting melody. A crucial chapter in the history of Drain, there is a reason ice dancer is a fan favorite. So what are you waiting for?
Recorded during a visit to Bangkok (DG member Thaiboy Digital was deported from Stockholm in 2015 due to visa complications), garbage island is the third collaborative project of Drain Gang. Featuring artwork by Ecco2k, its futuristic pop marks a sonic shift from the band’s lo-fi roots to an altogether more polished sound, with trance-heavy pads and synth-laden melodies dominating the album’s eight tracks. . From “Western Union,” perhaps the most beloved track on the album, to the hedonistic “30th Floor,” garbage island surges with cathartic happiness and euphoric highs.
Thaiboy Digital’s solo debut sees the Thai rapper reflect on his deportation at the age of 18 through a melancholy lens loaded with trance melodies and hip-hop bars. With guest appearances from Ecco2k, Bladee and Yung Lean, the album was rrecorded in a handful of visa-regulated sessions in Stockholm and London in the summer of 2018. Drifting between flex-heavy love songs and bright synth lines, legendary member is a dreamy, relentless offering of undeniable OG bangers from Drain Gang.
Until the release of his debut album, DG co-founder Ecco2k had held a mysterious presence in Drain Gang’s history, only appearing on other people’s records. With E, he trades rap for a casual version of contemporary pop. With production by friend and collaborator Yves Tumor (Ecco2k is behind many of the artist’s stunning music videos), the album sees him step into the limelight through nine achingly angelic songs. From ruminating on the color of her skin on “Peroxide” to singing over ketamine crystals kissing her nose on “Calcium,” the drain has never sounded so good and enjoyable.
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