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Polo Perks dropped his peculiarly named new project ‘i.c.f.m. Pt. 3 / fortheonesilost’ - the third installment of his ‘I Can’t Feel Much’ series, with the hyper-stylized title matching his unique brand of experimental, forward thinking hip hop that sits at the intersection of many of the prevailing trends in NYC, hip hop, and culture in general.
The simplest way to break down the sound of Polo Perks (also known as Lil Polo Tee and POLO PERKS <3 <3 <3) would be a very non-traditional combination of modern, vibey Soundcloud rap, classic Chicago drill, and the current NYC sample drill sound - at different times autotune-crooning like Ka$hdami, barely-awake chanting like Chief Keef, or walking over a nostalgic drill-flipped radio-hit sample like Cash Cobain. His forward-thinking style has caught the attention of everyone from Rolling Stone, Lyrical Lemonade, Earl Sweatshirt, and perhaps most notably VaynerMedia’s Head of Music Strategy and resident hip hop whisperer, Mike Boyd Jr. - who very interestingly appears to have taken Polo under his wing.
On the new project, ‘i.c.f.m Pt. 3’, Polo Perks further explores his unique hybrid style of drug-infused mood music developed on earlier installments and his earlier release this year “Punk Goes Drill” - cleverly utilizing a diverse range of samples and production styles to cover a surprisingly wide range of sounds, tempos, and moods. Probably the most noteworthy thing about the album is its multiple high-profile samples on songs like “Papparazzi” (Lady Gaga’s “Paparazzi”), “Nice Sprites / Demons At Night” (Skrillex’s “Scary Monsters & Nice Sprites), or “ThraxxPunk” (Daft Punk’s “One More Time”). Far from a one trick pony however, there’s plenty of great moments throughout the album like the oddly gentle club beat on the opening track “Raris And Rovers Pt 2”, the vibey tribute-track “Eway / RIP Speedy”, or the gripping, ominous-sounding “Burbank” and “HaHa Davis Pt 2” - all built on original production from Surf Gang producers (and/or samples that probably go over the head of most). There’s also the catchy sing-along hook on “Sober” and the surprisingly stripped-down, almost acoustic melody on “Sweet Victory”, both of which give us a look at a much more gentle and vulnerable Polo than usual.
Also included on the project is “Draft King”, the video for which made huge waves when it dropped last month on YouTube as an actual ad for the sports betting giant, DraftKings - racking up over 2M views and becoming Polo’s most viewed music video to date (no doubt having something to do with his affiliation with Mike Boyd and Gary Vee). In many ways, “Draft King” represents the future. Not only does it represent forward-thinking hip hop at the forefront of a new wave of vibey, experimental, electronic-infused rap - but its success as a real advertisement has big implications for the future of business, marketing, and culture as what may be the first ever seamlessly integrated YouTube ad to 1) organically launch the career of such a brand new, culturally relevant hip hop artist and 2) actually slap.
When looking at the project on Spotify, you’ll notice the names of producers like Evil Giane, Harrison, and Tommytohotty included on each of the song titles - all of whom are fellow members of the NYC based collective known as Surf Gang: a group of talented like-minded artists, producers, and creatives bonded together by their love of boundary-pushing hip hop, exclusive streetwear, and chill vibes. The collaborative, self-sufficient nature of Surf Gang is what allows for such a different, experimental sound that still feels cohesive on a project.
Overall, ‘i.c.f.m Pt. 3’ is a very interesting project by a hugely compelling, forward thinking new artist at the early stages of their growth. With all the ingredients for success: a forward-thinking creative vision, a strong, supportive team around him, a clear understanding of the current trends in music & culture, and a few powerful friends in high places - it’s only a matter of time before the secret of Polo Perks gets out.