What was once a short-term campaign to supplement the incomes of working-class musicians is now Bandcamp‘s cornerstone policy. Until further notice, the indie-friendly streamer is waiving its cut of sales every first Friday of the month, offering artists a reliable and unmitigated stream of funds at a time when touring profits have been reduced to how many tips you can land in a live stream on Twitch.
Now, given the breadth and expanse of Bandcamp’s catalog(s,) and the ongoing absence of a playlisting feature, parsing through the work may be a bit overwhelming. But that’s why we’re here, of course. And we’ll be doing the heavy lifting on R&D until the world resumes or a new one emerges. To aid independent black artists disproportionately stunned by the economic and creative shitstorm that is COVID-19 (and merely breathing in 2020,) we’re committed to compiling a long scroll of standout releases from the Bandcamp wormhole on each and every first Friday.
October’s set features dance floor fixes for the pandemic era, intricately-sculpted space rap epics, viral beatmakers leaping into a new phase, some post-J Dilla R&B sorcery, gorgeously ghostly takes on traditionals, and so much more.
Scroll on for this month’s Bandcamp Friday list and hold tight for the next drop.
Duendita may not be a regular in your rotation, but she’s certainly making the rounds in NYC’s more experimental sectors of rap and electronics. Her debut full-length project, Direct Line to My Creator, is equal parts pop minimalism and haunting R&B seance.
Quietly wielding one of the year’s most intricately-sculpted and engulfing rap epics, Zeroh’s BLQLYTE is requisite listening for anyone with a taste for glitchy synths, cerebral melodies, and cerated, yet elastic, wordplay.
In just three years, Al.Divino has assembled a catalog that could go round-for-round with some of your favorite rising rap stars. His latest project, FACEMELT, stacks another bullying performance onto the pile with steel-toed bars and woozy soul chops galore.
Flipping between witty wordsmith and hazy hook crafter, dreamcastmoe has developed a laidback lane of lo-fidelity rap that can enter and exit damn-near any genre or subdivision with ease and grace. Anchored by a pair of infectious lead singles, his upcoming Lamont EP is due on October 8th and should be sought out as a score for all subsequent smoke sessions.
If you’re looking for a mile-long scroll of staggeringly entrancing instrumental projects, TVPES might just be the heir apparent to Knxwledge’s still unchallenged position on the Bandcamp block.
An ace selector and experimentalist, Klip Mode co-founder Suzi Analogue has just the fix for those itching for the dance floor in the pandemic era.
In the span of just three years, MXXWLL has leaped from viral beatmaking sensation to an in-demand producer with an A-list fanbase of future funk all-stars. His debut solo album, SHEEESH, wrangles the whole crew and spotlights an uncanny ability to shapeshift in accordance with the strengths of his collaborators.
London-based R&B sorceress Demae casts a post-J Dilla spell on her reluctantly optimistic new project, Life Works Out…Usually.
A limber lyricist with an occasionally nasally delivery, Zelooperz has been on quite the come-up as of late. On his new album, Gremlin, the Detroit rapper packs a grizzly punch into a batch of tracks that rarely eclipse the two-minute mark.
One of modern soul’s most twisted alchemists, Jachary’s sound falls somewhere between Paisley Park and a pop-spun Dirty Projectors outtake.
After appearing on a handful of standouts on projects from Caleb Giles, Ade Hakim, and Jodi.10k, over the last few years, Cleo Reed is readying her own launch. And if it’s anything as gorgeously ghostly as her take on “Motherless Child,” we’ll all be better for it.
Another fearless genre-deconstructionist, Ade Hakim injects his projects with an almost primal optimism. His latest self-produced project is entrancing and grippingly joyful from cover-to-cover.
A not-so-quiet cornerstone of the beat scene and its afterglow, ohbliv is likely already one of your favorite producer’s favorite producers. His 2018 project, EZ Widas, is a logical entry point to a hulking Bandcamp resumé.
For anyone that’s already run through Sir Froderick’s extensive catalog of projects proper, there’s a grip of more obscure collaborative tapes and alter-ego drops stashed on his rarely updated Bandcamp page.
With four sterling tapes in his back pocket from this year alone, Brooklyn’s Goya Gumbani is on a rapid ascent that should be turning heads and commanding ears across disciplines. The Lesser-Known, his collaborative project with Kiina, is an entrancing exposition of sophisticated stream-of-consciousness and breezy jazz flips.
After backing some of the most prestigious line-ups in jazz (and wracking up three Grammy nominations along the way,) Nate Smith’s 2017 project, Kinfolk: Postcards from Everywhere finds the venerable drummer as a more than worthy leader, showcasing an air-tight patchwork of funk, soul, and R&B influences.
Eleven years after his stirringly symphonic J Dilla tribute, Carlos Niño is still a consummate host. On his latest project, Actual Presence, the arranger continues his study of hip-hop and jazz’s myriad intersections, wrangling Jamael Dean, Miguel Atwood-Ferguson, Randy Gloss, and Devin Daniels, for the journey.
One of Dallas’ premier pens, Lord Byron has been a not-so-silent fixture of the city’s full-form rap renaissance for the better part of the last decade. And he shows no signs of dialing anything back. Run through his slick and shifty Rami collaboration, RIKU, as a warm-up for the next chapter.
Though he’s best known for delivering daggering bilingual bars, Theravada is an equally apt beatmaker. Hear him do it all with an effortless glow on the year-starting instrumental project, clarity of escape.
YL might not be NYC’s most visible rap upstart just yet, but Born Again, his objectively stellar collaborative project with Zoomo, could change all of that in a hurry.
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