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Shaheed and DJ Supreme’s “The Art of Throwing Darts”

Shaheed and DJ Supreme’s new single “The Art of Throwing Darts” is multidimensional and undeniably intriguing from a music critic’s perspective, but what’s more is that it also happens to be one of the more ironically titled pieces I’ve listened to in the last few months. Rather than boasting a hardy cosmetic disposition that would otherwise trump the presence of anything else in the master mix, “The Art of Throwing Darts” isn’t all about embellishment nor image, but instead a meat and potatoes kind of hip-hop mentality that is getting harder and harder to find in the industry anymore.

As much as I dig the rise of the cloud rap movement online, there’s something about the angst that came with artists competing in insular music scenes that I do miss, and Shaheed and DJ Supreme are looking to capture that hustling energy in this single like few others in or outside of their scene know how to. There’s a lot of debate right now about excess and how it relates to surrealism in modern pop music, but to me, sometimes a subtle delivery is a lot more favorable to something theatrical and insistent – especially when it results in the kind of smooth undertow we’re swept up by in this track.

The bass stays pretty well hidden for the first act in “The Art of Throwing Darts,” but its influence can be felt more as we get into the second, especially as the drums take on less of a role in regulating the verses and inspiring consistency on the backend. If you’re curious what the most chills-inducing element of the mix is, you can believe it’s the lead vocal Shaheed is cutting up at the forefront of the track, largely against a backdrop that doesn’t need much from the rapper to sound rather ominous and, dare I say, a bit immersive for what I’d normally expect to hear out of a hip-hop single. The mastering style favors that of a trap single, and it’s working well for the kind of vibe this player was trying to cultivate; after all, it’s a little difficult for me to picture this being produced without as much rigidity and sounding as focused and sharp as it does in this instance.

“The Art of Throwing Darts” is pretty short but it could be just the right kind of sample-sized offering to get a lot of people into the music of Shaheed and DJ Supreme this spring, particularly as hip-hop’s mainstream continues to devolve before our very eyes and ears. You don’t need anything more than this hook to get on the same level as Shaheed and DJ Supreme, and where a lot of other rappers would have weighed this single down with a lot of nonsense, you’ll find nothing but sleek beats and an honest attitude in this performance. This is a legit pairing, and they’re not letting us step away from their work in “The Art of Throwing Darts” without knowing how unflinchingly devoted to the medium they are.

Mindy McCall



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