Brooklyn is one of the rare cities that has never failed to supply a massive quantity and quality of hip-hop talent. Some of the genre’s most prolific talents have come out of the borough, paving the way for countless more talented emcees to chase the spotlight after them. It’s easy to take for granted the quality of Brooklyn’s underground hip-hop scene, but if we ever need a reminder, we won’t have to look further than the Sleepercamp crew. In preparation for their collaborative mixtape and show, Jimi Tents, Sed, and Jay Bel, three members of the squad, each dropped singles to grab the attention of listeners everywhere. Take a look back at the hits the #slprcampsundays series brought us below.
Tents kicked off the #slprcampsundays series with his entry, “400.” A predictably stellar feature, “400” is an vibrant commentary on the modern echoes of slavery and racism in America. Tents is deliberate in his delivery, alternating between his smooth, lyrical bridges and stop-and-start bars that emphasize the message he sends. Jimi finds his groove quickly as the tempo of MARZBOYGENIUS’ instrumental picks up, sounding much more like a veteran than the 20-year-old rapper he is. Tents has a natural comfort on the mic; he, Jay Bel, and Sed all seem at home, which could be attributed to the history behind #slprcampsundays:
“#slprcampsundays is important because it’s how we first began releasing music; before anyone knew who I was or we were, we got our music poppin’ in highschool. This is how we did it — so we definitely wanted to bring the element back…”
– Tents on pushing out weekly content with the Sleepercamp collective
Sed was next up in the rotation, debuting the self-produced “Red Shirt.” Sed sings and raps over a dreamy beat, trying to win the affections of a girl before it’s too late. It’s easy to get lost in Sed’s entry as he flows seamlessly from verse to verse. Just after crooning “where you from and tell me how to get there,” Sed completely switches up the speed of the track, bouncing energetically and rapping “bring your friends, I’ll bring the camp, I’ll bring the amp, we can turn up and sing and dance.” Sed is mesmerizing, flipping from fast to slow, rapping to singing, optimistic to melancholic, all seemingly without taking a breath. “Red Shirt” is an entirely different animal to “400,” but is every bit as impressive.
The Sleepercamp crew turned to Jay Bel last, counting on the rapper’s “Shades of Blue” to round off the series in style. Bel didn’t disappoint. “Shades of Blue” is a hypnotizing track, heavy with Jay’s gravely flow and unnerving hooks. The song opens with whining synths, which Jay’s vocals seem imitate as the bass kicks in. The echoey vocals almost sound like a chorus or chant, setting the tone of the song as Bel sings “shades of blue under eyelids…we the kids with them lost souls.” Jay repeatedly punctuates his bars with this refrain, but his haunting lyrics change its implications with each verse. The result is a song that, in theory, shouldn’t work, but, driven by Bel’s unique and crazy flow, feels so right.
To say that it “shouldn’t work,” but absolutely does, seems to be the theme of the series. Tents, Sed, and Bel, despite their undeniable individual talent, are a trio that don’t come to mind as having particularly complimentary styles. However, the three came together to drop three tracks that fit together perfectly. The three obviously seem to know what works between them, something that could be attributed to the history the Brooklynites share. Whatever the reason, the Sleepercamp trio seriously flexed their talent over the last three weeks. Keep an eye out for upcoming collaborations, and cop free tickets to their SLPRCAMPAIGN show here.