We all know that we live in a time when anyone with a laptop and an internet connection can start making beats, and there are plenty out there who are doing just that. However, few creators end up rising above the pack in the soundcloud/bandcamp deluge. Enter New Jersey resident Mike Volpe, the mastermind whose artistic alias is Clams Casino, who has been making beats for some of the most attention-grabbing MCs of the past few years; among them Soulja Boy, A$AP Rocky, Lil B. His profile has increased steadily in proportion with these rappers, but there is no coattail-riding here. These are the same rappers that Clams was sending beats to when he was a nobody on myspace writing to any MC to find people who wanted to rap over his beats. [For the more serious music nerds who balk at names like Soulja Boy and Lil B, take it from Brian Eno, who shouted out Clams on BBC Radio last year.]
Upon first hearing the work of this amazing producer I was completely mesmerized, sucked into the slowed down, fuzzed out beats that work just as well as contemporary ambient music as the foundation of hip-hop tracks. Click on the link above to hear one of my absolute favorite “pure” Clams Casino tracks (i.e., listened to on its own, instead of as a beat for another track): here we find Clams firing on all cylinders where an Imogen Heap vocal sample pushes forward this hypnotizing beat through the syrup that surrounds it. utterly original and captivating.