Continuing the pioneer work of the late LilPeep and XXXTentacion, the Los Angeles based artist is still breaking stigma and genre limits in modern hiphop.
Dyed hair, hidden faces, messy social media feeds, reckless attitude. It’s hard to put a label on it but going by the music and image, we are looking at the modern versions of our childhoods emo band heroes.
But the young artists have their own motives, their own movement and are expanding and breaking the rules of a different genre. Whereas rock music was still very dominant in the mainstream rotations of the early 2000s, guitars have become a real rarity in 2020. Ashton Traitor and his following emerge within the hiphop scene, although they go very much against the main stream.
Ashton Traitor moved from Houston to Los Angeles to concentrate on music, definitely not to fit in. His self directed music videos show him alienated from society and his surrounding, matching his lyrics and overall attitude.
Mentioned lyrics are full of sadness, little to major struggles and doubts in life, as well as a slightly glamourized self-destructive behaviour.
All of that we find on instrumentals that perfectly suit this contemporary aesthetic. Stretched, dark bass synthesizers slide under piano melodies, and yes, we also find distorted guitar samples. The kick hits hard, the 808 glides, there’s no question about when this music was made. Ashton Traitor always sounds like a little bit of tomorrow, breaking the ice for new artists to come after him.
Despite all the non conformity and anti structure, it is clear that he has a plan and is very aware of what he is doing. His melodies hold hit potential and add the softer side to the rebellious image.
And though he has been doing extremely well hiding his face and identity, he is a figure young teeenagers, especially in the US, will identify with. Breaking the banality of everyday life and its details becomes an aesthetic, sadness its voice.
There’s always the odd one that doesn’t fit in until everybody wants to be just like him. We see a lot of that in Ashton Traitor.