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Its refreshing to find an experimental white rapper with a verifiably authentic background in hip-hop. Former Jacksonville resident (now Seattle transplant), Astronautalis is one of the few genre-striding MCs who can claim as much lineage to '90s golden-era rap like Nas or Lord Finesse as any appropriately reference-able indie group.
Although you're probably more likely to hear him rap about the Revolutionary War than a street corner shootout, this former battle rapper is a freestyling machine known world 'round for his impromptu skills on the mic at live shows. Putting in time on the road like a DIY punk band, Astros got more than half a dozen full US tours under his belt plus three years on Warped Tour and a recent stretch through Europe with pop-punk duo Tegan and Sara. He's also got a jittery indie croon that could hang with Isaac Brock and is the blonde half of the feline-enthusiast, gangster rap group Boyfriends Incorporated (with South Florida MC Bleubird).
But above all the dense musical descriptions and cool band name references you see in most of his press (including here), he's an excellent songwriter and possibly an even better performer. Catch him Tonight at Respectable Street opening up for the Supervillains.
-- Jasper Delaini