The Kantraban Kartel

San Francisco’s young underground scene has been diverging from the classic Bay Area sounds as of late, moving more and more towards moshpit focused, EDM influenced bangers and conscious rap that focus solely on plastering a stank face on the listener. One of the best examples of this new sound comes from Kantraban Kartel, a new DJ/producer collective on the scene. Kantraban Kartel’s two debut tracks feature heavy, earth-shaking bass hits, aggressive beat chops, and ominous synths that make prime examples of this new live-show focused, gym-playlist ready sound.

The first of these two tracks, Korrupt, features the quick-rapping, multi-layered flows of vtizzel and is a tasteful example of how EDM can influence a hip-hop track; the buildups and base drops on this beat create a crazy, energetic feeling, almost like it was made to complement a final boss fight scene. Together with vtizzel’s demonic vocal layering and crazy aggressive flows, this track is an undeniable notch under the belts of both artists.

The second of the tracks, Pharaoh, features a young San Francisco legend by the name of Xanubis. This is one of those collaborations that just seems inevitable; Xanubis was one of the first SF pioneers of this sound, working with Russian EDM producer Tapecut and the SF-based Soulecist. Kantraban Kartel’s production and Xanubis’ style fit together like a glove, and this track is a must-have on any gym playlist. If Korrupt is the boss fight, Pharaoh is the training montage; it builds in intensity, sampling some eerie Egyptian vocals that compliment the choppy drums and heavy bassline to create something super exciting to listen to.


On both tracks, the Kantraban Kartel does a great job of both bombarding the listener with intense drums and synths as well as giving the rapper room to breathe and work within the track, backing off to let these lyricists emphasize their impressive lyrical skills. Both of these tracks are fantastic examples of a new sound in the Bay, one that isn’t afraid to get wild and experiment. Hopefully, the hard work of these young artists continues to pay off as we get to sit back and see this sound take off. Now, we can go on & on about the rest of the catalog from Kantraban Kartel but we’ll just let the music speak for itself.

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