By now I'm entirely convinced that the various hospitals of Atlanta are in total cahoots with each other in their practices in the dark arts. Obviously Atlanta is a populous place with a lively culture, but that still doesn't seem to account ridiculous amount of talent the city seems to produce on a steady basis. I've never really cared for Illuminati-esque conspiracy talk, and honestly feel that if you are willing to spend hours and hours of your time rewinding music video clips in the attempt to prove that some rapper's random hand gesture is evidence of evil, then you should be sent required to play for the 76ers in eternal damnation. But not even I can deny that doctors in Hotlanta are clearly giving newborns some illegal antidote...no Travis Scott.
The latest talent to join the never-ending ATLien galaxy Killer Mike-Cyhi the Prynce-Soulja Boy-Jeezy-Future-Outkast-B.o.B-Gucci Mane-Rae Sremmurd-Young Dro-Cee Lo Green-K Camp-Rich Homie Quan-Migos-T.I.-2 Chainz-Bubba Sparxxx (ok I'll stop) is Atlanta's own Apollo. If your interweb game is strong, you may already know that Apollo is one half of superHERO, a crew I wrote about a few months ago in this very column upon the release of their surprisingly solid The Middle album. I originally wrote:
Beyond the pizzazz effect (after all, what really is pizzazz?) superHero are brashly pushing the boundaries on what hip hop can be by ushering in an extra level of aggression to make their beats all the more engaging, and furthermore, inspiring. With The Middle, essentially, superHero have optimized their lyrical content and implementation of hooks to put together a package the world has yet to witness. There is something strangely gravitational about what superHero do on The Middle, making for some of the most enjoyable hip hop I’ve heard this year.
(I'm posting this video again because this was my jam for a cool second, and also, it's my column and I can do whatever the fuck I want).
Historically, the problem with duos that never really blow up is that the crew itself is identifiable, but the members themselves are not. Outkast is a perfect example of a group with two charismatic members who everyone knows. Like a tried, true, and wise ATLien, Apollo is avoiding that common pitfall by really giving the world an introduction to himself with The Otherside: An Art Exhibit a solo dolo expenditure...no Cudi, and especially not the wack ass version with Kendrick. But I digress.
By far my favorite component of the Apollo experience is just how evident it is that he is a true student of the game. At times he pulls from his bigger brothers Andre 3000 and Big Boi, and at other times he elects for a Kanye feel. Of course the ignorant will disagree, but the artist who truly studies the craft and pulls from so many disparate directions ultimately ends up creating something wholly original. And just superHERO's The Middle pushed the boundaries of hip hop to ingenious places at times, Apollo is once again not only that his artistry cannot be handcuffed to genre-labels but even in the immensely crowded talent pool of ATL, the 21 year old is demanding attention.
Let's face it, deep down everyone wants at least one time to tell their homies "MC ____ is about to blow!" and then finally watch it happen. Something tells me you would be making a wise bet with Apollo. I don't always use the phrase "this shit goes" but...well, just play track 6 "Rolling" and decide for yourself.
And lucky for us, Apollo isn't stingy. You can stream and download the entire record below.