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David Shabani, from Dallas by way of Montreal, Canada, is a progressive hip-hop artist in the Austin, Texas social scene. He has performed at over 50 venues in the state, including the 2014 ESPN X Games in Austin, TX, alongside Mac Miller, Pretty Lights, and Kanye West. In an area where the music culture is expansive and rapidly accelerating, Shabani’s sound keeps pace by blending compellingly personal lyrics with high-energy backbeats that combine to work double time. The result is a product that dually satisfies the late night thrill seeker with stimulating, club pounding rhythms while still providing the idle listener with lyrics that flow in a story-like format.
Shabani’s latest releases include an EP, entitled Cold Showers, and his new mixtape, Drinking Games. While Shabani’s 2012 mixtape Vodka Water is singularly devoted to portraying what he calls “the average college nightlife,” Drinking Games uses the same theme as a vehicle to delve into Shabani’s more complex problems. The Cold Showers EP serves as, in the artist’s words, “a float between the two.”
Drinking Games is a progression for Shabani, with more to offer in terms of both music and content. He is notably growing from a musician who’s seeking an audience to an artist who has found and is speaking to one. Free-flowing rap verses take the forefront to catchy choruses on this tape, and address loaded topics such as the hierarchy of class, racial identity, and an absentee father. With a variety of new instrumental tactics and lyrical metaphors, Drinking Games is like an older sibling to Vodka Water; the new tape has a solid vein of consistency, but a touch more maturity and depth. The new addition effectively expands Shabani’s outreach to include anyone who is self-made, has overcome struggle, or is working to rise to a better future. Drinking Games, and the Cold Showers EP are both available on iTunes and Spotify as of June 2014.