Johnny Astro is a harbinger of what to expect from the urban music scene in the coming years. As the world goes digital and globalization leads to more and more ways of sharing, connecting and discovering, underground talent, especially emcees, face likely odds of being lost in an ever-expanding sea of amateur sound. Being famous is no longer just about the music. It’s about brand recognition. So you have to do something different, something that catches people’s attention.
Astro (real name Ronnie Gaither) is a Dallas-based rapper, producer and songwriter who has been making music since he was 13 years old and has gained a great amount of notoriety through MySpace, SoundCloud, and the like. After putting out a few singles, he finally presents his debut mixtape, LightYears. It’s eclectic to say the least. Not many Texas emcees are touching on this many genres. The hip hop and R&B overtones are obvious, but what drives LightYears are the synths and electro influences lurking around every corner.
Astro has a strong sense of self, even when laying verses full of heartache and loss. This is a good thing. Astro’s strength is his ingenuity and nowhere is this better found than in LightYears opening track “Intro (The Kingdom Burns).” It’s eerie, powerful, and Astro shows some serious skills as a producer and emcee. Plus, I love the samples used. It’s a well-rounded track by a well-rounded artist and it deserves to be heard.
Support Johnny Astro and download his debut mixtape, LightYears.