Join the LO-NY Movement

Words by Matthew Spence:

Right under our musical feet, we’re in a hip-hop movement that makes you want to ditch streaming services and dust off your record collection and player (if you have one). “LO-NY” is its name (you know, like Lo-Fi and the city, clever, isn’t it) and it gives off the feeling of a cold late-night walk as the city lights shine over you. Vibes of a cloudy day walk as you walk from place to place with people passing you by while you go on with your day. On the train, back of the bus, or somewhere you travel where you’re still but mentally moving on. Production that implements: soul/jazz samples looped to the core, that often breathes with melodic instrumentation like pianos, saxophones, and sometimes vocals ripped from the original sample.  If you wanna get really avant-garde, use whatever Earl Sweatshirt used on the song “East“.  Combined with often raw mixed vocals, (sometimes drumless) smooth production that feels well prepped but yet its lo-fi aesthetic still present. Meshed with lyrics that feel like poetry in motion, you get a wave of music that feels like food for thought.

The soundtrack to an introspective smoke session. To introduce a skate clip. Mellow, can be melancholic yet therapeutic in a sort as many artists use these beats to express numerous emotions. It could be depression, peace of mind, or they just wanna show flaunt their lyrical chops. No matter the subject of the evening, it’s smothered in lyrical intricacy that it makes my inner backpacker want to come out and scoff at anyone that listens to anyone that has radio play (ahh high school memories).  Whenever you hear the first two seconds of the instrumental, your first instinct is to melodically drag the word “yeah….yeah” with the bare minimum enthusiasm but enough to show you care to rip the shit.

Over the past few years, the Leaders of this Class include the established legend Earl Sweatshirt, Navy Blue, MIKE, Pink Siifu, Maxo, Mavi, and the de-facto producer, Alchemist.

Photo of MIKE: Hypebeast
Photo of Navy Blue: Hypebeast

Of course, many other producers as well as the individual artists themselves, such as Earl and Nav, do their own production often. Feels like an indirect collective since most of these artists have collaborated before. Picture the Native Tongues Movement meets ruggedness. Ironically, not every single artist is from NY in this, and hell their intention may be far from getting that kind of sound…..but fuck it, it’s dope. It’s a prime example to ignore people hip-hop takes who say “Hip-Hop is Dead” or “has no soul anymore”.


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