thestand4rd feat. Psymun, Spooky Black, Bobby Raps, Allan Kingdom
“I got some simple needs/Floatin’ through these symphonies/Flirtin’ through these symphonies/Broken by these symphonies/Broken by these simple needs”
thestand4ard is a remarkable example of scattered talents finding and embracing each other, audible proof that we can design the stars to align when connections are noticed and committedly pursued. The four players- all from St. Paul, MN and under the age of 23- hold solo careers in addition to their collective creations. Spooky Black owns a signature deep and crooning voice, one strikingly seductive and memorable for someone midway through high school. Allan Kingdom raps with playful conviction, breaking up smooth with sharp on “Decisions” and clarifying the Sisyphus-like versatility at the creamy core of thestand4rd’s wallowing flow. Bobby Raps rhymes and makes beats alongside Psymun, the only member who doesn’t contribute vocals. Rather than distinguish who plays what roles or what to call the group, they’d rather you just listen to the music; Psymun notes their production dynamic in an interview with The Fader: “It’s not even like Spooky’s just a singer, or Bobby’s just a producer/rapper, or Psymun’s just a producer. It doesn’t say enough.”
Listening to the group’s self-titled debut is like riding a steep and seemless waterslide on a perfect body high and walking out feeling suave, colorful and cool, platinum waves tilting above any standard game. “Simple Needs” reflects sonic kinship to another R&B group, The Weeknd. Although their similar down-tempo drones arose independently, Grammy-winning producer Doc McKinney later came to support both groups, drawn to cradle the minor tone trips and crisp, crowded beat layers that define the distinctively somber alt-hip hop genre.
The boys seem confident in any combination of their many musical talents, which is probably the reason their music is so damn stylish and addicting. It tailors hip hop to a lounge-laden, sensitive crew of tastes spent on radio flavor, scraping off the old rinds of R&B for a truly fresh sound. In a recent GEN F feature, Bobby Raps explained the group’s first days in the studio together as “the most natural shit ever.” Listen to that peanut butter charm. Strength in numbers for these guys, let’s hope they stick together for more than a little while.