If Orin from Parks and Rec and Drake had a love child it would be Corbin (FKA Spooky Black). The St. Paul based artist brought his hybrid oddball r&b meets emo rap meets gothic grunge home to the Amsterdam Bar & Hall for a sold out show on Thursday.
Corbin has been taking the blogosphere by storm since his days on Soundcloud releasing tracks as Spooky Blasck. After a brief hiatus Corbin is back with a new album and a new name. Well, 25old name. Corbin Smidzik (if that’s not a Minnesotan last name…I don’t know what is) dropped the moniker and incognito shtick and is releasing music simply as Corbin. Last night in St. Paul, though home, was just one of many stops on his North American Tour.
Corbin is touring in support of his latest release Mourn, which was released via co-headliner Shlohmo’s label WeDidIt. The record was produced with tourmates Shlohmo and D33J, each bringing their own bedroom raps meets EDM meets grunge meets electronica vibe to the Amsterdam.
The hype around Corbin is real. From the girls on the patio raving about Corbin as “the new face of hip hop” to the A-List of Corbin fans (Drake & The Weeknd) he’s amassed, I was curious to see this hype for myself. For someone who follows the Minnesota music scene fairly closely, I didn’t know much about Corbin other than hearing the name “Spooky Black” in passing.
Corbin’s set at The Amsterdam delivered. The room was packed from wall to wall with 24fans who clearly had been awaiting the Minnesota native’s return to the Twin Cities for quite sometimes. The room was dancing and singing along to track after track. Corbin low-growl vocals seemed to blend elements from both metal and rap – two strong scenes of their own here in the Cities. Lyrically the content of his songs is rather dark, but poetic and visceral. It was fascinating to see this hybrid of sorts that Corbin taps into, and how deeply it resonates with fans.
As creepy as Orin with a fake stuffed bobcat on a tapestry rug and TVs with static, and as smooth as the cashmere turtleneck wearing King of the Six himself, Corbin has hit a is a sweet spot between weird as hell and smooth as fuck.
Joining Corbin at The Amsterdam to kick off the evening was D33J – an LA based electronic music producer and DJ. D33j, a member of the WeDidIt Collective, kicked off the evening with an industrial meets ambient DJ set. Thinking video game loading music – in the best way. D33j kept a low profile during his set, huddle above his laptop and control panels but the crowd was definitely vibing.
Situated between D33J and Corbin was Shlohmo – a founding member of the WeDidIt Collective. Shlohmo, aka Henry Laufer, has been a staple in the Los Angeles electronic music scene for years now. Shlohmo blends elements of creepy synth to heavy, distorted guitars creating an sound so distinctly Shlohmo. There was a special LA meets St. Paul magic at the Amsterdam – with artists making waves across the electronic music scene and across cities.