On Friday up-and-coming Chicago rapper James King (aka the GTW) will drop 4814, a collaborative EP with local producer Eddie Yang (aka Bengfang); tonight they celebrate the release with a performance at Funky Buddha Lounge (728 W. Grand). King has a voracious appetite for variety—he’s into a lot of styles, most notably hip-hop and house—and he’s found a great foil in Yang, an EDM wizard who appears to operate with a genre-agnostic sensibility. The pair have already released a couple smooth, cool tracks from the EP—”Blak Lux” and “Cravings”—that showcase their eclectic tastes and ear for solid pop hooks.
The son of Nigerian immigrants, King grew up listening to Nigerian music and later explored a bevy of other genres—downtempo house, Brazilian jazz, UK bass. He also took a particular interest in 90s bass music and its various offshoots. “My favorite song is ‘My Boo,'” King says, referring to the 1996 Miami bass track by Ghost Town DJ’s.
“Originally I was just singing in church like everyone else that starts singing,” King says. He made his first rap song about six years ago, under the name Greedy; he later changed his alias to Greater Than Wealth, or the GTW for short. In 2010 he dropped his debut mixtape, Don’t Smoke the Cigarette.