We know D.C. Get our free newsletter to stay in the know.
Standout Track: “DreamVintage (part 1)” is a cinematic slow-churner that registers as chillwave, although it feels like background music from a 1970s blaxploitation movie. For three minutes, instruments calmly emerge from producer Terracotta Blue’s haunting brew—dusty drums evoke a hip-hop context and hollow chimes give the song its dark texture. Near the end, a flute arises and brightens the shadows.
Musical Motivation: Silver Spring producer Jamal Samuel (aka Terracotta Blue) created “DreamVintage (part 1)” after listening to PRhyme, the edgy collaborative album from rapper Royce da 5’9” and producer DJ Premier, who sampled brassy soul composer Adrian Younge for the project. “This is more of a throwback to how I used to make beats,” says Samuel, 36. “For this, I wanted to keep it simple. I wanted to give it that gritty, warm, soulful vibe. I try to make this stuff very laid-back.”
‘80s Baby: Samuel says he grew up on 1980s pop, which explains his affinity for dreamy lo-fi jams and electronic music. As a veteran composer—Samuel’s been releasing music since 2003—he says he’s preferred the downtempo vibe long before chillwave became a fad in the mid-2000s. And while he credits the ‘80s for his sound, Samuel’s rap influence comes from ‘90s producers Premier, RZA, and Dr. Dre. “I loved ‘80s cartoons and I love ‘80s music,” Samuel says. “This has the feel I’m going for.”
Stream “DreamVintage (part 1)” after the jump.