Milwaukee Producer Strehlow Fuses Hip-Hop and EDM on "Nesha"

Jan. 9, 2014
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strehlow nesha cover
Lately I’ve been a little obsessed with Trap-A-Holics’ Certified Trap mixes. If you’ve never heard them before, they’re gleefully ridiculous, featuring dubstep makeovers of recent trap-rap tracks. Basically, DJs take some of the loudest, least subtle rap of the moment and rework it in the style of some of the loudest, least subtle electronic music of the moment, but there’s something undeniable about the resulting cacophony of drops and gun sounds. Hip-hop and electronic music just work together: That was true in the ’80s, when house met breakbeats, that was true in the ’90s, when drum and bass challenged daring rappers with blinding tempos, and it’s true today, as producers engage in an endless arms race to create the biggest, screechiest drops.

I bring up those mixtapes because there’s plenty of trap and dubstep DNA at work in Nesha, the new EP from Milwaukee producer Strehlow. You could probably slip any of these four new tracks into one of the spacier, more EDM-minded final stretches of one of those Certified Trap tapes without anybody noticing. But where those Certified Trap tapes are single-mindedly modern—so grounded in 2000-now that they might as well come with a Miley Cyrus rub-on tattoo—Strehlow takes a broader view on his own savvy originals, drawing as much from hip-hop’s past as much as he does EDM’s present. There’s real history in these breakbeats and 808s, and his scratches and beat juggling suggest he’s probably listened to his fair share of the X-ecutioners and Invisibl Skratch Piklz before he started playing club shows. The EP is a refreshing reminder that “smart” and “turned-up” don't always have to be mutually exclusive goals.

Stream Strehlow's Nesha EP below, via Soundcloud.


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