Hot Sugar. The name might not ring any bells, but if you’re the least bit into hip hop, chances are you’ve heard some of his productions, such as The Roots Grammy nominated album Undun, which he produced in 2011.
The full album is available on YouTube, and now, on The Limonadier too.
Working with as big a name as The Roots has done no harm to his reputation on the international rap scene. However, the young New Yorker, real name Nick Koenig, has not limited his repertoire, and has worked with a host of lesser known yet very much respected MCs and other big names on the American underground hip hop scene such as Big Baby Ghandi, Antwon, Das Racist, and Kitty (formally known as Kitty Pryde). Although an eclectic mix, Nick Koenig has comfortably transcended any genre difference, creating mini musical worlds in which their voices comfortably fit.
But what actually this so-called ‘world’?
Simply put, Koenig is, first and foremost, an « associative music » producer. A bit like a painter’s collage, the process consists of combining various random sounds and unconventional instruments, then melding them into a melody. Artists such as Four Tet, Tokimonsta and Rone have already had significant success in the genre, yet the true pioneer remains Richard David James, better known as Aphex Twin.
Making music out of noise – which is essentially what the process is – allows for an almost limitless artistic license and results in a lot mmore variety in terms of its application and production. Rap is quite clearly a big influence on Hot Sugar’s music. But you can also hear elements of chillwave and ‘Internet culture’, which, in its globality, and despite its many faults, has provided an extraordinary palette of creative possibilities, as well as bringing to light some of the more anonymous cyber talents. As a result, Hot Sugar’s music has become a sort of vaguely dissonant music box of which, from which escapes hazy to crystal-clear to childish sounds, and occasionally, something far more twisted and macabre.
It is this darker side that is particularly prominent int he video for « Skinkies« , which has just been unleashed online. The clip follows Nick Koenig as a shady New Yorker who falls in love with a snake-loving junkie via Facebook. Although hardly a sentimental love story, the music in contrast with the seriousness of the video makes for a rather fascinating overall effect.
Hot Sugar’s debut album, God’s Hands, was just released on 26 February. The 2 above tracks are included, but, although fairly similar in terms of mood and atmosphere, are not necessarily reflective of the surprising variety of sounds present throughout the album.