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Runnin' Through The Competition Lke The F*ckin' Alphabet (bet)

I introduce a brand-new, independent Shadowrap group that's full of potential.

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CellarBoy$

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There’s been a recent online explosion of underground hip-hop artists like Bones, $uicideboy$, and Pouya, almost to the point at which even I, a big fan, would call the genre… oversaturated. But what genre is it, exactly? Well, it mostly boils down to the type of beat all of these artists use – that’s what defines the genre’s core: Trap. A Trap beat is characterized by fat, throbbing, repetitious bass and rapidly-firing hi-hats. But there have been so many artists that used Trap beats who were different from Bones, $uicideboy$, and Pouya, a good example being Yung Lean. Leany’s music is largely what you’d call Cloud Rap, a genre characterized by monotone, lazy vocal deliveries and woozy, dreamy, often sad instrumentals, whereas the three artists I’ve mentioned twice now take a much more conscious and aggressive, even violent approach. Although both songs utilize Trap-style beats, Yung Lean’s Eye Contact and $uicide’s Fuckthepopulation are two very different songs. They both have the Trap beat, and they both carry a minor tonality, but their focus is different; Lean’s focus is on the instrumental’s patient melody while $uicide’s focus is on the beat’s potential for brutality. So, you can’t simply refer to everyone as a Trap artist, can you? After all, the beat may be important but clearly, the way that beat is used and what it’s paired with is also very determinate of a song’s style. That’s when other artists come up with names for their work like Shadowrap, a term coined by $uicideboy$. So let’s call them, and Bones, and Pouya, all Trap/Shadowrap.

Well, there’s another Trap/Shadowrap ensemble in town my friends, the 100% independent CellarBoy$. Yes, yet another “Boys” rap group. How many does that make? Anyway, CellarBoy$ consists of the three fine young gentlemen Prophet, D3, and Exceptional, the first of whom I interviewed for help with this article. Their record label is LUCIDS. You can find Prophet’s Twitter @LucidsForever here, and the group’s Souncloud here.

Prophet had a good childhood. It didn’t shape his musical taste in any way he perceives, but what did was when he started smoking marijuana in 7th grade. Through connections as well as the influence of weed, he became a fan of “huge artists like J Cole and Drake and typical stuff,” not discovering the underground until a highschool friend of his (later to become D3) introduced him to Pouya. Prophet loved the “anger and bass and amazingness” of his work, and so he dug deeper, finding Fat Nick and the rest of Buffet Boys, G*59 and all associated acts including Ramirez and $uicideboys, and the hip-hop coalition SESHOLLOWATERBOYS which included Bones and many others. Finding all these great niche artists was exciting, but what really kicked Prophet into creative-gear was the moment he witnessed the energy of a Pouya concert in person. “I went to a Pouya concert and the energy in the music is amazing,” he says, “Everyone was jumping and going crazy. No huge artist brings that… And it inspired me to make my own music.” Why? “In hopes to one day get up on a stage and have an underground following and awesome shows,” he says. To give people that same exciting feeling he felt, which changed his life, at that Pouya concert.

So when he was fifteen, Prophet teamed up with two other highschool friends who became D3 and Exceptional. They vibed together well, so before long they had named themselves Cellarboy$ and established their record label, LUCIDS. Over the course of a year, Cellarboy$ have posted a total of ten bangers to their Soundcloud, with their earliest project coming from six months ago. There’s an average of less than half a month between uploads. That’s an impressive display of work ethic for young teens, especially considering the challenge of producing tracks consistently during school with limited funds.

Now that we’re through introductions and a brief summary of CellarBoy$ history, let’s get into analyzing their musical style!

First off, there’s that ever-present, unforgettable Trap beat paired with a catchy repeated melody and samples, providing a framework for the vital, snappy, driving vocals. Here’s a lyrical sample from the first verse of their song, Who Is You:

"Two rangs, gold chains, blunts leave me chest pain

Prophet in the back, and he lighting up the new strain

Lit like propane

‘Rari in the fast lane

Gettin’ mad stacks, got the drug game maintained

Money gunna fold and the dank gettin’ fold

Pounds on pounds and the dank gettin’ sold

Don't slip, Cellars bring the crew shit, Mac gripped

D rolled up and he's tripping off the acid"

Prophet’s lyrics are both witty and hard, and his rapid flow is occasionally reminiscent of classic hop-hop while still delivering the aggression and darkness that fans thirst for from Shadowrap. A great example of that classic influence would actually be the first song he uploaded, called Professional. It’s reserved, it’s classy, and it’s great. What’s important to note about this track is that it also lacks the Trap-style beat, opting for a humbler, more soulful vibe instead. It just goes to show you that Cellarboy$ aren’t a group of one-trick ponies. Hey, since this is their first track, it’s a good place to start if I’m gonna talk about every song. And I think I will! Don’t forget to stop by their Soundcloud to hear these songs for yourself. Here goes:

Track #2 – Yung Gud (Diss) by Prophet

They jump straight into the Trap beats from hear with a diss track aimed at Yung Gud of Sadboys. Why they’d diss that dude, I honestly don’t know, but the track is great. Full of lines like “I’m stabbing you with liquid swords” that’re brutal but creative at the same time. Prophet locks into the beat perfectly on this one and just goes. Listening to him is pretty fun.

Track #3 – Prophecy (ft. E-xceptional)

The biggest difference between this song and the previous one is E-xceptional’s presence. His flow is similar to Prophet’s, but his voice and pronunciation are unique which brings more variety to the formula. Really fun hard track. My criticism would be that it sounds too much like the diss track, but that’s not too much of a criticism.

Track #4 – Late Last Night by D3 (prod. HIGHAF)

For Trap, the beat of this song is subdued to a hair’s difference from the point of being… no longer Trap. The instrumental’s melody is slow, almost ambient. The whole thing feels very classic. D3’s flow is slightly better than Prophet’s and E-xceptional’s, but it’s the same constant rapid-fire style.

Track #5 – What You Think by E-xceptional

A good solid boasting track from E-xceptional, with a minimalist beat and creepin’ minor-toned piano sample. The lyrics on this track are some of the cockiest from their entire body of work. Just see for yourself:

"Long nights, put in work

Take yo bitch I’ll make her squirt

Been a king, since my birth

Black bandanna, match that shirt

She got ass, I’ll make it twerk

Save your comments, I’m a jerk

How’s your feelings? Bet they’re hurt"

… and so on.

Track #6 – Who is You by Prophet

This is one of my favorites. Prophet is back over a fire Trap beat that he locks into like a king. His flow on this track is one of the best.

Track #7 – Elapsed Time (ft.D3)

Prophet and D3 together on this track about their progression from being consumers of music to full-blown independent creators. They mention personal struggles throughout that part of their lives as well.

Track #8 – Problems by Prophet

All about Prophet’s personal struggles. It’s a slow and driving.

Track #9– YungSavageLifestyle

Another one of my favorites! The beat for this is great and Prophet delivers his vocals with an energy unlike on any other track here.

Track #10 – Perception (ft. Xavier Z)

Xavier SOUNDS great on this track.

If I were to criticize CellarBoy$ to the furthest extent, I would say that their music could use a little more vocal variety and better mixing. There are a couple lyrics that disagree with me, but hey, not every lyric can be flawless; even the inspiring Pouya delivers some sour lines. Despite those few criticisms, I’d say for sure they’re worth a click or three.

So, yeah… That’s CellarBoy$. Thanks for reading if you made it this far. Remember to check out CellarBoy$ on Twitter and, most importantly, their Soundcloud. Have a cool ass day, my dudes.

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