While it sometimes seems that artists burst out of thin air, that is not usually the case. They must cultivate their art and test their limits. Here is some of my favorite early work from four popular artists before their sound resonated to the masses.
"Black Child EP" - Brent Faiyaz
Many know this R&B singer for his sensual and sleek yet toxic trap soul. However, the “Mercedes” artist did not always sound like he does now. Before projects “F*** the World," “Sonder Son” and “A.M. Paradox,” there was “Black Child EP."
The second project Faiyaz ever released is filled with hard style rapping and glimpses of the artist to be. Just like his music now, the EP has a cold and dark essence. Of course, the entirety of this album is not rap tracks. The track "Love Thing” is an early demonstration of the singer we know now.
The songs that highlighted this tape were “Down Forever," “Love Thing” and “City Lights/Worst in Us."
"S" - SZA
If you take the time to deep dive on the streaming service Soundcloud, you will find a surplus of her music whether that be older, unreleased or used under hidden accounts.
One of SZA's most well known mixtapes titled “S” is only eight tracks long, but the entirety is an eventful joyride. The project has SZA still using her common topics of insecurities and relationships, but through a much more foggy production. With fazerdaze/indie influence, the production of this album creates a dream-like sense. All her tapes up to “Z” all have this similar flow, but “S” has less dynamic range in her vocals.
The entire EP is worth listening to from interesting interludes with Eartha Kitt, productions from Odd Future's Brandun Deshay, and unique samples from Fleetwood Mac.