Oh Snap Festival: Parking

Underground rap right now has an impressive panoply of styles at play right now. There’s the dense, quiet wordplay of Seattle’s Shabazz Palaces that questions the very form of the genre. Out in SoCal, Kendrick Lamar has earned the praise of Dr. Dre and Snoop Dogg as the heir to West Coast rap with his mellow, socially conscious sound. It’s the music of the tormented generation spawned by Dre’s carefree Chronic days. There’s also the stoned New York rap of A$AP Rocky, who sounds like he just wants to smoke weed all day while copping a lot from the Mike Jones-y Houston sound. In and amongst all this exciting creativity is Detroit rapper Danny Brown. He’s got a weird, crazy persona, but his beats are hard and heavy, and his rhymes twist and weave with a force not seen in many of his underground peers.

Austin can’t count very many rappers amongst its myriad musicians, though there are some good ones, to be sure. MC Overlord kicks an old-school, feel-good style. Phranchyze is our resident freestyling champion. Zeale’s poised to take on the mainstream. But then there is Parking. These guys only came onto my radar screen recently – when they opened for the Wu-Tang Clan at the new Emo’s a couple of weekends ago – despite having released The Crown Fits in March of last year. Totally my bad, guys. Because this shit is awesome. And the closest analogue I hear is in the weird, compelling intensity of Danny Brown.

Parking - 'GumScraper (The Shears Remix)'

Parking’s tracks bend and weave. Nicky Luna shifts the backing beats, but always keep them heavy and engaging. Meanwhile, Ibrahim brings some of the biggest intensity to his lyrical delivery that I’ve heard. It’s like he pounded a dozen espressos before getting into the recording studio. Even on a mellower track like “Ordinary Day,” he grabs the track by the throat and brings his “A”-game. His rhyme schemes are just insane; they’re like ear candy to follow and you just can’t turn away. He’s got a great feel for flow. If you like uptempo rap with an electronic edge (but not anywhere near that David Guetta crap that’s ruling the top 40 stations right now), Parking is a must. There is no one in Austin doing anything like what they’re doing right now, and I could see them blowing up nationwide thanks to talent of both members of the group.

Don’t sleep on these guys. You can get more info about the group on their website, you can buy The Crown Fits at the iTunes store, and you can catch them live this Saturday around 9:30 at the Oh Snap Festival at the Parish and the Beale Street Tavern. Get your tickets soon!

– Carter