Issue December 17, 2013

Guilt Trips

Ryan Hemsworth
LAST GANG

Cloud-rap? Post-R&B? We still don’t have much of a lexicon to describe the latest wave of bedroom producers who push well-worn hip-hop tropes into more experimental, freeform territory. Ryan Hemsworth’s latest LP plays like an immaculately produced R&B/hip-hop crossover record that had the majority of its vocal tracks scrapped in order to better showcase its dreamy ambient soundscapes. When present, guest singers and rappers are treated as just another layer within the richly textured, bass-heavy mixes. “One For Me,” featuring gorgeous reverb-soaked harmonies from L.A. singer Tinashe, is the closest Hemsworth gets to a proper radio-friendly single, as if to say, “See? I can if I want to.” But his main concern is to explore the fringes of his carefully crafted aesthetic, which yields some truly unique moments throughout this subgenre-bending record.