Spvce Problems is an elusive little beast. The Mexican rap trio has released just a few singles, but every piece of new music they share is a head-turner. Now CLXSTA, Zaheed Santana, and Zhickleez are finally releasing a full EP, titled Kawaii. In four tracks, the three MCs trade verses over glossy and thick hip-hop beats.
Spvce Problems have already developed a signature approach to their lyrics, which consist of esoteric pop culture references, sci-fi imagery, and subtle social criticism. The EP opens with “Kawaii,” but it doesn’t explicitly reference the Japanese subculture and aesthetic. Instead, the rappers analyze the anxieties of living in a technology-centered world, throwing in outlandish visual imagery along the way. “Y me analizan porque estoy con vida/que algo estoy haciendo mal porque no estoy en linea,” CLXSTA raps, refusing to conform to social media expectations. There are throwback hip-hop elements throughout, like a boom-bap beat beautified with rippling synth lines and cloudy pads.
Zhickleez takes the lead on “Chthulu” and dives right into “campfire stories,” dropping lines that make it seem like there’s nothing more scary than real life – mummies wearing ties, out-of-body experiences, and accidents. More predictable rhymes about sex and money eventually break the spell. The playful melodic lines set the storytelling mood, and colossal Technicolor synth chords supported by deep bass tones spice things up.
“P-Esco”‘s standout bass line bumps so hard it’s difficult to pay attention to anything else. Zaheed Santana’s R&B hook adds a more musical element to the production, and the soulful undertones persist on “S.L.K.K.S (Thirst).” Santana brings the drama and seduction – a kind of 90s Autre Ne Veut.
Spvce Problems go from romance to deception in the blink of an eye and drop hyper-relevant references, some of which might not pass the test of time. “Me siento como el gif the John Travolta/buscando a alguien como tú que ya no se esconda.” Couplets like this are hilarious and well-executed, no matter how long the memory of a meme might last. In just a few releases, the trio has already found a distinctive voice. It’s a winning formula and we can only hope they keep the music coming.