Like his fellow Chicagoans Chance the Rapper and Towkio, Sen Morimoto isn’t your average SoundCloud rapper. He’s a multi-instrumentalist—sax, keys and the guitar are just three he can play—and he’s keener on bringing in fresh sounds to hip hop than unleashing trap beats and mumbled verses.
Morimoto’s latest track, “People Watching,” begins like a straight-up avant jazz composition retrieved from ECM’s dusty archives. But then a low-key beat drops, slack-jawed verses kick in, and the tune takes on a lonely, night-time shimmer—perfect to soundtrack your next nocturnal drive around an empty city.
More A Tribe Called Quest than Aesop Rock, it’s a complex, wonderfully modern hip hop number that thankfully doesn’t cross over into chin-stroking territory. Go “People Watching” here: