We’re all basically staring at the same pile of music on the Internet—there’s equal access for everyone with wifi and patience, more or less. But how we each get to that pile is usually more complicated. Lee Bannon is a good example of this multidirectional approach: his background consists of several online-centric corridors of rap. He’s a key component of the New York-based Pro Era crew, serving as tour DJ for Joey Bada$$ (catch him on Jimmy Fallon with the Roots). The two have also joined forces with fellow Pro Era member Chuck Strangers to release an EP under the name Super Helpful earlier this year. He’s worked with Raider Klan’s Matt Stoops, and his latest mixtape, Caligula Theme Music 2.7.5, bears the numerology popularized by Spaceghostpurrp (don’t ask me what it means, I think you have to be in Raider Klan to know that).
Bannon pulls from two of the larger cliques in Internet rap and combines the best of both styles. There’s the warped Memphis rumble that Raider Klan has standardized, with slightly fewer layers of distortion than you’d find on something like a Key Nyata or Yung Simmie tape. The added touch of Pro Era-style New York boom-bap is what drives Caligula Theme Music 2.7.5 forward. Minimal rapping leaves it in a strange place (is it a mixtape? Is it a beat tape?), and comparisons to Clams Casino are likely inevitable, but Bannon’s smoother production improves upon an exhausted formula. His samples run deeper, too—featured on his SoundCloud is an Andy Stott rework that is the last thing you’d expect to hear a rap producer employ. Of course, that’s part of the appeal, and Bannon’s unique blend of styles shows promise for such a great start.- Gabriel Herrera