Gaunt and forbidding, the 19-year-old LA rapper Bones fits somewhere between the dizzy lean-love of Yung Lean’s Sad Boys and lugubrious menace-trudge of Lil Ugly Mane, with a sharply defined video aesthetic crafted by the same camcorder he says he’s used since age seven, when he was living in Howell, Michigan. Garbage is at least Bones’ eighth release since 2012, distributed through his SESH crew. The production is wide-reaching and, with almost every track, super compelling—the acoustic guitar that opens the ramblingly titled “YouCanTellALotAboutAManByTheNeckOfHisShirt” had me double-taking iTunes. For the most part, the sound is grimy and decidedly underground, but “MyFavoriteColorIsRain” reminds me of modern day melodramatic-singing-chorus Eminem, just harder. (The final track is a nod to 8 Mile.) Speaking of singing tracks, the du-ragged Minnesota teenager Spooky Black features on “IfYouHadAZuneIHateYou,” making for a natural highlight that also includes a few bars of screamed hardcore.
Spooky Black is the fourth white rap/R&B artist I’ve referenced, which feels inevitable; Bones’ first album was called White Rapper. You could draw up Yelawolf, too, with Bones’ rural background and fondness for Three 6, or Lakutis with his sort of wild-eyed unhingedness, or even Bubba Sparxxx with that acoustic guitar track—the point, I think, isn’t so much the race as it the sort of uphill battle and hungriness to prove yourself within the genre. Right now, Bones might be doing that better than anyone.
Download: Bones, Garbage (.zip)