Wednesday, March 13, 2019

Ribs: Beatmaker edition with Asend & Dope Kid Danny

I was thrown for a loop with Asend’s new album Nobody Cares dropping because I thought it would be among his first projects to showcase his more modern-pop style that I’ve seen him use lately- hi-hats and trapbeats with a blending of his boom-bap sampling roots but I was pleasantly surprised when the album turned out to be a clearing-out of golden-era style beats from his archives that for whatever reason didn’t come out with his last projects. While I look forward to a tape that puts together his own take on boom-trap (hat-tip to !llmind) it really takes me back in a fresh way to hear all these unreleased Asend boom-bap beats. 
What can be said? Despite being young as hell, Asend is a master at this style. He has such a great ear for melodies, drum-swings and chill thoughtful moods. You can always vibe or freestyle to his work, smoke or meditate: it’s multi-functional-music. These beats sound like waking up on a Saturday morning in Spring and taking your time to blaze and make breakfast as you let the sun hit you through the sliding glass door. They have a darkside too…those same vibes can turn into a malaise but that his beats walk the razor’s edge of wonder and melancholy is part of their deceptively simple charm. The album to me is about meditation, but there’s some undeniably sad commentary to the quote at the end that reiterates the project’s title: “nobody cares”. A lot of younger beatmakers have the tendency to delete their folders when the mood strikes so I am truly thankful that Asend decided to let the fans have the choice- the choice to care.
The intro to Gelid, Dope Kid Danny’s new beat tape, “Celebrate” is a beautiful opener for this clean and chillactimous beat-tape. Off the bat, this “celebration” isn’t your regular turn-up sesh but something more thoughtful and melodic- the album follows suit. “What I want” has a simple and hypnotic melody/ “Under the Street Light” plays with an easy-going trumpet during the chorus while the bass and the bells lays the foundation of the cut.  8thWonder is simultaneously experimental and pop-hit ready. The “Medicate” Interlude is chill, catchy and eastern-tinged in its melodies and instrumentation. Danny’s beats sound placement-ready: the kind of tunes you might see in a new Netflix show or cannabis documentary. 2 AM on the Highway reminds me of the set up to a thriller or horror movie while also being exactly what it sounds like. Cocaine has tinkly piano layers, sick drums and melancholy expressions of an addict’s pain. 
  For me, Kryptonic Justice is the album’s highlight- thunderous bass, spidery guitar and key melodies, simultaneously ominous yet majestic, it truly could be a Superman theme for the modern-era. The outro is also a regal banger with extended horn notes and stop-start drum knocks. Danny is growing ever into a more polished and professional beatmaker with tracks ready made for pop-stars to be or grimy spitters or just people who just need beats to chill out too. Though he’s in Minnesota, these beats remind me of the west coast freeway and how I fill my time on it.

Tristan "Tanjint Wiggy" Acker is staff writer for JooseBoxx, a youth hip-hop and poetry tutor, and member of the Inland Empire nerdcore hip-hop group the West Coast Avengers. Catch more of their work at, follow Tristan on Twitter @Tanjint or e-mail him at

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