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Thursday, September 6, 2012

Tonight: The GTW and Bengfang celebrate their first collaborative EP

Posted By on 09.06.12 at 01:26 PM

James King and Eddie Yang
  • James King and Eddie Yang
On Friday up-and-coming Chicago rapper James King (aka the GTW) will drop 4814, a collaborative EP with local producer Eddie Yang (aka Bengfang); tonight they celebrate the release with a performance at Funky Buddha Lounge (728 W. Grand). King has a voracious appetite for variety—he's into a lot of styles, most notably hip-hop and house—and he's found a great foil in Yang, an EDM wizard who appears to operate with a genre-agnostic sensibility. The pair have already released a couple smooth, cool tracks from the EP—"Blak Lux" and "Cravings"—that showcase their eclectic tastes and ear for solid pop hooks.

The son of Nigerian immigrants, King grew up listening to Nigerian music and later explored a bevy of other genres—downtempo house, Brazilian jazz, UK bass. He also took a particular interest in 90s bass music and its various offshoots. "My favorite song is 'My Boo,'" King says, referring to the 1996 Miami bass track by Ghost Town DJ's.

"Originally I was just singing in church like everyone else that starts singing," King says. He made his first rap song about six years ago, under the name Greedy; he later changed his alias to Greater Than Wealth, or the GTW for short. In 2010 he dropped his debut mixtape, Don't Smoke the Cigarette.

King also began linking up with creative types in a variety of other media by helping establish a collective called Saturday Youth. The group's name comes from King's friend and producer Sunny Norway (who worked on Don't Smoke the Cigarette), not the similar title of M83's 2008 album. King says it refers to the feeling of the one day each week that he and his friends would have to themselves while growing up. "That was the time when we were free from our homework," he says. "It was really euphoric."

Through Saturday Youth, King connected with Yang; he invited the producer into into the creative family about a year ago. Since then the pair has worked on what eventually became the 4814 EP, creating experimental tunes anchored by elements of trap and soul (not to be confused with MC Tree's sound, which he calls "soul trap"). King and Yang will perform 4814 as a part of a Saturday Youth series at Funky Buddha called the Yacht Club; Sir Devin Hudson and Manny Muscles spin. The event is free and starts at 9 PM.

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