Theophilus London's This Charming Mixtape, released early last year, was a hit seemingly as soon as the Brooklyn MC hit "upload." There was that clever Smiths-referencing title, of course, which got more than a few click-throughs from people who wouldn't usually be interested in a hip-hop mixtape.
But the unofficial release then stood on its own musical merit. London is more of an overall composer than a by-the-books lyricist, bringing a melodic, genre-blending musicality to his tracks. He's definitely a child of the Kanye school, reaching for a sort of post-rap amalgamation of styles that touches on electro, pop, and even a touch of indie for a sound with broad audience appeal.
The Overthrow were the first promoters to bring him to the city, at Rokbar, back in May 2009. They've snagged him again for a sophomore appearance on Saturday, June 19, this time at Grand Central. Full details haven't been announced yet, but Overthrow HQ says they've also tapped him to spin a DJ set at Louis the night before.
London also boasts two new releases to whet your appetite. First, there's his recent, third mixtape, I Want You, hosted by 26-year-old New York-based, Trinidad-born female MC and video director VA$HTIE.
Then, there's his new single, "Humdrum Town." It once again lifts a little from the Smiths,
its sung hook cribbing the "when the rain falls ... in this humdrum
town" lyric from "William It Was Really Nothing." That's about where
the connection ends, except for the track's perhaps Smiths-ian
bittersweet mood. Stylistically, though, it's a continuation of
London's pop-absorbiny experiments, with his laid-back flow coasting
over a bouncy, danceable beat and tinkling keyboards.
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Download: Theophilus London - I Want You mixtape featuring VA$HTIE
Download: Theophilus London - "Humdrum Town"
Theophilus London DJ set. Friday, June 18. Louis, 2325 Collins Ave., Miami Beach. 305-531-4600; louismiami.com