Manwolves Credit: Micheal Salisbury

There’s a dangerously high likelihood that a group of white guys who heavily incorporate rapping and hip-hop aesthetics into their sound will fall into that odd frat-rock zone occupied by jam fans and Dave Matthews acolytes. Manwolves started as an after-school activity by Evanston Township High School students in 2012, have sidestepped such a cheesy fate, at least for the time being. On September’s self-released A Safety Meeting, they perform with uniform tightness while wading through languid melodies. They often play with a comforting touch; their gentle horns are equal parts jazz and adult contemporary, and sometimes their guitars take shimmering yacht-rock dives. Front man Jamie McNear is responsible for much of the hip-hop feel on A Safety Meeting, even when he’s not explicitly rapping. The inflection in his soulful drawl on the slack “Georgia Peach” shows he understands how the lines between rapping and singing have increasingly blurred—an evolution that has quickened from Atlanta’s post-Future era to today’s Soundcloud scene. It’s the kind of small detail that suggests bands like Manwolves could play an even bigger role in the shape of hip-hop in years to come.   v