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C2SV: Christian Rich, Producers Of Earl Sweatshirt, Vince Staples, Performing At The Continental

In Music
Scratch Bros.: Production duo Christian Rich have produced for artists from Lil’ Kim to Vince Staples.

Scratch Bros.: Production duo Christian Rich have produced for artists from Lil’ Kim to Vince Staples.

Though they may not enjoy the same level of recognition as some of their name-brand peers, production duo Christian Rich certainly have some serious behind-the-boards bona fides.

Beginning with their first major production credit on Lil’ Kim’s 2003 album, La Bella Mafia, these two brothers—born in Chicago and raised in Nigeria—have lent their chops to a string of well-known hip-hop artists, including Drake, Childish Gambino, Earl Sweatshirt and Vince Staples.

Now based in Los Angeles, the duo, which are slated to perform at the Continental Bar, Lounge and Patio during C2SV, cite Pharrell Williams and his N.E.R.D. cohort, Shae Haley, as mentors. According to Christian Rich, Pharrell’s patience and perseverance in the music industry was an inspiration.

“At the time when we were working close together—back between 2009 and 2011—I remember he would say, ‘I’m not going to change up my style; I’m going to let the people come to me, I’m going to do what want to do,’” Taiwo says, recalling a conversation with Williams. “That’s something that we think about on a daily basis—just being focused, consistent and do what do.”

Christian Rich’s latest album, FW14, plays like an intergalactic journey—jumping hyperspace from ethereal acid jazz to aggressive trap to neo-soul, dancefloor-ready jams.

“We could’ve easily done a hip-hop album, but it could be very limiting,” Taiwo says. “And we’ve already done that to some capacity, so we really just wanted to branch out and try to bring more ears to our music. The idea was to make an album that lent itself more to the electronic space.”

In this goal, Christian Rich have succeeded. The Vince Staples-featuring “High” lurches with chopped and screwed vocals, thudding subsonic bass and dissonant, robotic, stutter-step horn squelches—at once recalling the industrial ambiance of Actress and the heavy electrohouse of Datsik.

FW14 is sensual, endearing and nuanced—packed with samples and sounds weird enough to intrigue but not so weird that it sends listeners running from the dance floor. Instead, it offers a peek into an infectious amalgamation of hip-hop, R&B and electronica.

The album’s list of recognizable up-and-comers definitely helps widen this record’s appeal. In addition to Vince Staples, FW14 also features emcees Goldlink and Bia—two young heavy-hitters bending the limitations of rap and electronica—as well as singers JMSN, Brooklyn’s Denitia and Sene, Jack Davey and Sinead Hartnett.

It’s a roster that Taiwo says the brothers scouted on SoundCloud. “I think the one thing that SoundCloud has done for us is really open our palette to new collaborators,” Taiwo says. “It’s just as easy to go on Twitter and talk to someone, but SoundCloud makes it so much easier to be able to hear the music first-hand and really latch onto their style.”

Christian Rich are performing at The Continental Bar, Lounge and Patio as part of C2SV on Oct. 8 at 10:30pm.

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