Pain and Persistence: A Guide to Airospace

Loss, heartbreak and persistence are only a few of the driving forces that have shaped Airospace into the artist he is today. Born in Maryland and based out of DC, the rapper is one of the more overlooked artists from the DMV despite steadily releasing quality underground rap since 2010.

The first thing that stands out about Airospace is his frantic, stream of consciousness-style delivery and tone. It is particularly easy to be engrossed by his vocal style when he’s going over relatively simple, looped lofi beats (which he is no stranger to). On top of this, Airospace has an extremely erratic and fascinating lyrical style in which he holds nothing back, very clearly using his music as an outlet for his internal struggles rather than a means of financial security. Moments in which he references specific people or events in his life, lines that nobody but him and the people close to him are going to fully grasp exemplify that he’s not only making music for his fans, but as a release for his inner insecurities and emotions.

His extensive catalog—10 albums in under a decade—makes knowing exactly where to begin with this underappreciated artist a bit daunting. This profile aims to highlight the essential listening for anyone who is gripped by Airospace’s unique style.

His 2016 album Analogues offers some of the most aggressive tracks he’s created in his career thus far. The track “Wormhole”, for instance, diverts into metal-esque screaming during the hook. At only 25 minutes Analogues is a very concise EP, leaving little room for filler. Throughout the project Airospaces holds true to his aforementioned frantic, urgent delivery while adopting a bit more of a conventional flow style, still managing to sound distinct from his contemporaries. With 7 different producers on 7 different songs he manages to create a project that remains cohesive without veering into territory of songs feeling samey or having tracks blend together, a common issue many artists struggle with.

Lyrically, Airospace isn’t afraid to pull the curtains back either, with “Kuipers Belt” dealing with his insecurities and failed love endeavors. Spitting bars like:

“Ain’t no time to fall in love i’m fucking far from being fine
Contemplating suicide in every day that I’m alive
I’ve been loving all these women as this empty shell of mine
Finding purpose to this madness I feel worthless all the time”

Combined with his passionate delivery style culminates into something moving and often times painfully real. Throughout the EP, Airospace sounds hungry as ever, which makes it a thoroughly enjoyable listen that keeps me coming back.

Released a year later, Nocturne sticks to a more laidback production style, acting perhaps as a bit of a counterpart to Analogues’ vigor. At only 30 minutes Airospace continues the trend of making short, succinct projects that don’t hang around any longer than they need to in order to get their ideas across. One of the projects highlights, “An Open Letter to Helen, pt. 1” features Airospace candidly rapping about his life over a gorgeously melancholy piano loop:

“See i ain’t watch my mother die,
But the vegetated state of a degenerated
Situation non communication,
Theresa told the hospital that she ain’t have a son
The hysterectomy,
In exchange my father gave her one.”

We reached out to Airospace to expand on these sets of lines. He explained to us that Theresa was his stepmother’s best friend, and by telling the hospital that Helen didn’t have any children, she denied him the ability to see his stepmother in her sickness before her passing. With even more honest and stripped back lyrics with a slightly lighter vibe from Analogues, Nocturne feels like a natural progression and advancement of his abilities.

The last (but not least) project deserving of some shine is All Dreams End from 2015. Though the tape features some of the most frequent skits and interludes seen in Airospace’s work, it also contains some of his best songs. On tracks like “Aurora Borealis” the production even dips into areas that really aren’t traditionally hip-hop. Quiet guitar strumming and fuzzy, angelic vocals coming from Mndsgn’s 2014 track “exchanging” combined with Airospace’s spoken word style convey a strong sense of honesty and authentic emotion.

Overall, All Dreams End feels more loose and free-flowing than projects like Analogues and Nocturne—less focus on typical song structure and hooks and more emphasis on simply providing Airospace with dreamy, lo-fi instrumentals to get his thoughts out onto. Though the mixing on this tape isn’t perfect, it only adds to its raw charm and fits in perfectly with his style and production choices.

Airospace wears his heart on his sleeve and if heartfelt raps over hypnotic instrumentals pique your interest his music will be a welcome addition to your rotation. The MC constantly feeds his fans, providing a sense of authenticity and personality that has gone severely unrecognized over the years. You can access his full discography on his Bandcamp. Alternatively, Spotify has the aforementioned Analogues and Nocturne projects, in addition to a beat tape and his 2013 release Hitagi Vol 2.1 which is also definitely a recommended listen.

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