‘Fros don’t come down. They catch the wind…

One of the greatest blessings of the internet age is how various layers of culture intersect to create something both entirely new and distinctly familiar. This concept firmly sticks in the mind when introduced to Seafood Sam’s latest EP, ‘Afros In The Wind.’ A seven-track testament to the alt-rapper’s ability to skillfully blend genres. Believe him when he says, “It’s too effortless the way I do my thing.” The EP delves into themes of freedom and authenticity, framing itself as a musical expression of the concept of black freedom and self-empowerment. In his own words, “Afros In The Wind is simple – it’s about Black Freedom. Being free. When people use the phrase ‘let your hair down,’ they don’t get it. ‘Fros don’t come down. They catch the wind. You hear the title, and you see the image.”

‘Luv Baby Soft’ sets a plush mood to start, reminiscent of Japanese House and lo-fi remixes. It melds seamlessly with Seafood Sam’s trademark gruff tones. Dipping into a slower, more soul-infused groove on ‘The Spirit Of Harold Lilly,’ he immediately serves up one of the most standout pieces from the project. His playful lyricism and precisely layered vocals bring out the best in his sound and create a welcome mat to step into one of the more experimental compositions in the collection, ‘86 Carolina West,’ where his oddness and offbeat originality dance between 80’s synths. All too often, we get regurgitated samples of already popular 90s and noughties hits, so it’s really exciting to see a rapper experiment with these kinds of influences that are both adjacent to the mainstream and deeply nostalgic.

‘Ethel’s Café’ is another impeccable track. Sometimes you can feel the energy movement in a song, and even though it’s one of the shortest on the project, its boom-bap influences are brilliantly executed. This carries through to ‘Annie-Merl,’ where depth and reflection spill through his signature baritone, precisely layered against grinding electronica elements. ‘Rain Boots & Ponchos’ sees Seafood Sam’s persona become all-encompassing. The high-tone vocals spread throughout the base of the song and bring new depths to his tune. It begs to be played at full volume in a tricked-out car cruising on a slow summer night. ‘Mattress Backflips’ pushes home a strong finish for the EP, reminiscent of Snoop Dogg’s beats from the early 2000s, combined with rubbing synths and low bass tones. It presents a blend of 90’s rap and Lofi mixes that we didn’t even know we so sorely needed. It’s no surprise that Seafood Sam’s cadence always has an unmistakably West Coast feel, given his Long Beach origins.

Though relatively early in his music career, Seafood Sam has released a massive body of work since his first project back in 2019, enough to put almost any major label artist to shame. Throughout his development, he has added many refinements to his sound and shown himself to possess great strength in identity, one that remains consistent and unique. This EP exemplifies how rap with a focus on genre fusion can stand in its own strength without diluting its source or execution. It also presents a fresh alternative to experimentation and shows how considered pacing and self-assurance can yield big payoffs in a landscape where the biggest challenge is standing out. If you’re drained by music that feels formulaic, ‘Afros In The Wind’ will no doubt be a welcome addition to your playlist.

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