Virginia native 93Feetofsmoke knows what's alluring about Soundcloud rap—and shows he can break free of it on Bummer | Concert Preview | Chicago Reader

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Virginia native 93Feetofsmoke knows what's alluring about Soundcloud rap—and shows he can break free of it on Bummer

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I’m not sure who, if anyone, will end up filling the Lil Peep-size hole in rap, but there are an awful lot of white rappers cribbing from third-wave emo’s salad days who seem like they’d love to do just that. Tonight’s show features artists who’ve made a home in similar frameworks as Peep, though such comparisons alone would shortchange opener 93Feetofsmoke. The 25-year-old Virginia native played bass in several metal bands, but once he got a copy of Ableton, he freed himself from the challenges of playing with others and started making beats and experimenting with Auto-Tune. Over the past few years he’s littered the Internet with singles, some of which he helpfully repackaged in 2016 and 2017 as end-of-the-year compilations. On the surface, 93Feet offers up the emo-focused essence of a genre that’s been described as “Soundcloud rap”; for example, he samples American Football’s “Honestly?” and dispenses Auto-Tune raps about the queasiness that comes with youthful vulnerability on 2k16 Pack’s “I Wanna Be the Picture on Ur Homescreen” with a flow that feels like his words are just dripping out of his mouth. But on October’s Bummer (Plzgoaway), 93Feet shows promise of breaking out of Soundcloud rap’s confines with focused, evocative, and genuine melodies that show his expert grasp of the scene’s melodramatic formula while slyly shining a light beyond its borders; his blurry bars on “This Is Do or Die Just Like Everything Else” are sopping with the R&B longing that’s de rigueur in more accessible and mainstream strains of rap.   v

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