AshTreJinkins makes a case for Matthewdavid and Ras_G’s cosign on ‘IT’S TRASH NOW’

The Los Angeles-based artist's latest album is another jewel placed upon his crown as an Afrofuturist producer.
A singer-songwriter from Boston, MA that also writes blogs about music from time to time. A loud and proud as fuck member of the Alt-Black, LGBT and autistic community.

As risque as it is to count upon just anyone’s cosign, to be the focus of Ras_G has to garner you at least a few points in the music world. For Los Angeles, producer Ras_G is more than a hip-hop producer or an electronic musician—he channeled the spirit of Black music into his SP-404, making abstract, funky, and spiritual works of art. After all, he, like a handful of producers such as Madlib and Flying Lotus—who released Ras_G’s works on his label Brainfeeder—figured out how to channel the futuristic vision of the late and great poet, philosopher, and jazz composer Sun Ra through beatmaking instruments. Be it the space funk odyssey of Back On The Planet or the abstractness of The El-Aylien Tapes, listening is like hearing music from a literal uncharted planet, and the strange creatures are of a Black persuasion. It would make sense that the next heir of the spacey sound would be someone like producer AshTreJinkins.

While the early 2010s suggests there wasn’t a shortage of truly boundary-pushing producers in Los Angeles, Afrofuturist producer AshTreJinkins, who has dropped multiple tapes and albums—some underneath underground labels such as NCA and Schematic Music Company— isn’t that far from sharing sonic allyship with Ras_G. It’s just that his brand of instrumental hip-hop/abstract electronica usually ventures into more ambient directions than Ras_G. Regardless, they both are known to bring their share of spaced-out ruckus when possible. IT’S TRASH NOW continues to prove ATJ’s prowess, released on producer-singer Matthewdavid’s experimental label Leaving Records.

The thing about the song titles on the album is that they say just as much as the music. “MYSPACE 2006” suggests that ATJ had been on his spaced-out shit for a long time. A deep, dusty swirl of bells scatter about a tuneful gust of fluctuating synths, turning what to most would be random sounds into something hypnotic—and even enveloping those who pay full attention to the precise arrangement. “DRUG DEPRESSED” boasts of having a strange rhythm with deeply soft and melancholic melodies. Though such melodies feel like what it is to be lost and/or in another universe, the jagged rhythm of liquidated drums keeps you from drifting too far into the audio ether. ATJ even paid a nod to the previously discussed late ally, Ras_G, while sticking a middle finger up to detractors and fakes with the galactic footwork of “YOU WERE NOT SPACE BASED APPROVED,” named after Ras_G’s recording studio.

Where other songs have offered a glimpse of ATJ’s more futuristic sound, “LEVELS TO THIS” presents to you a nine-minute liquid instrumental hip-hop track that unfolds and holds your attention all through the melodically jazzy tune before casually returning to brief waters with the squelchy, whistle-laced banger, “LET’S ACKNOWLEDGE THE FACT THAT YOU TRIED ME” and the Timbaland-esque “WE NOT LINCOLN.”

From the vintage groove of “NOT COCO BUTTER ENUFF” to the dabbles in meditative yet still anxious synth-wave loops of  “YOUNG OLD HEAD (HERE FOR THE CHANGES), AshTreJinkins’ IT’S TRASH NOW may not offer a lot new to those who have traveled his spacious universes before, but it is another jewel placed upon AshTreJinkins’ crown as a musical producer. Not to mention, it is a perfect dissertation as to why he is rightfully entitled to Ras_G’s falcon crown—if not his own.

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