Ghostemane Credit: courtesy the artist

Ghostemane is a white rapper from Florida who was reared on punk, metalcore, and other strains of aggressive music that had some modicum of accessibility and a fragment of crossover success. In a June interview with taste-making rap podcast No Jumper, he said, “The fans of my stuff now would have been fans of the Devil Wears Prada or Bring Me the Horizon—Myspace shit back in the day—it’s like the same audience.” Ghostemane has emerged as part of the ambiguous grassroots “Soundcloud rap” scene, a hodgepodge of MCs who favor angst and the streaming platform that gifted them this definitive-if-unhelpful tag. Of the rag-tag bunch, Ghostemane is among the most amenable to bringing the music of his youth to the forefront. “Axis,” off 2016’s Plagues, liberally samples “When World’s Collide,” the breakout 1999 single by interstellar nu-metal outfit Powerman 5000, and on the lo-fi “D(Rwn” and chugging “Rake,” off September’s self-released Hexada, sound eager to show how much hip-hop’s subterranean past has in common with punk and metal aesthetics. But the crux of Hexada rests on a dark sound indebted to Memphis’s 90s rap scene that’s been blossoming in Florida’s underground—an atmospheric burgoo of bone-dry percussion, hazy synths, and rapid-fire vocals that sound like they’re emerging from deep within an MC’s belly.   v