North Carolina poet-turned-rapper OG Spliff has dropped a batch of new singles with the release of “son of toga” and “buildings.” Two tracks that highlight the rising artist’s knack for crafting numbingly introspective anthems submerged in the oceanic number of genres he’s been influenced by since he first started making art. His debut EP Pre Roll arrived last year as eight tracks that introduced OG Spliff’s love of creating beguiling sonic soundscapes. Which are often composed of ’60s and ’70s R&B/jazz samples and old-school hip-hop beats punctuated by the candid inflection and deadpan resonance of his vocals.
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As the son of a house DJ-turned-teacher, Spliff credits much of his early burgeoning love of music to his father’s influence. “My pops was a DJ growing up, which fostered my love for music, especially house music,” OG Spliff explained. “He opened my world to all sorts of sounds. Some of my earliest music memories with him are from our trips to the local hood gas station, where we’d go buy rap CDs from the bootleg man, ranging from East Coast rappers Fat Joe and Wu-Tang Clan, to West Coast staples, like N.W.A. and Snoop Dogg.”
But his first foray into making something of his own started in high school where he began writing haikus — an early precursor of his soon-to-be gruffly laconic lyricism. Spliff considers himself an old-school revivalist and since 2017 he’s been gifting new life to his city’s hip-hop scene. And his latest singles bridge the progress he made last year with a brighter-than-bright future.
In “son of toga” he teams up with producer Argov once more to create a track filled with the triumphantly soulful samples his music often explodes with. Rapping circles around his flaws and faults in a spiraling attempt to reign in what he sees as toxic traits. “Couple chains on me now they said I’m losing track / You can’t see the execution, I’ll just hit you back,” he raps over the surging instrumentals.
Then there’s “building,” which functions as a kind of second half to “song of toga.” Against the twinkle of piano keys and a dreamily sparse melody, Spliff focuses less on his personal shortcomings and more on the world that’s made him the man he is. “Out here dying for a / Living,” he raps drearily over the track’s shimmering tones. “Just for a pot to piss in.” His words hang heavy against the track’s light backing as he hones in on an attempt to converse with his own reflection on both songs.
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Words by Steven Ward
Listen to “son of toga” and “building” the new singles from OG Spliff below!