The hunt for excellent smoke-sesh music is no small task to whoever is handed the controls to the stereo. Whenever I’m getting high with good friends, and they turn on some jams, I always make sure to ask. Curating a gigantic smoke playlist is easy, and even fun, but the trouble with a playlist is its finite nature. In the age of streaming everything, music is no exception. No one owns anything, we’re all just licensing content for our own entertainment. Honestly, the ephemeral nature of content consumption is kind of great in one sense, because it allows for a massive variety and potential exposure, the likes of which no previous generation has had. One of the most popular “chill” streaming music sources is YouTube’s infamous Chill LoFi Hip Hop Beats for Studying. I’ve gotten my fair share of mileage out of the relaxing and vibey music streamed through the channel, but my true golden nugget of a discovery this year has been SoundCloud.
The platform has a strange reputation for bringing many aptly-labeled SoundCloud rappers into the spotlight. Specializing in styles like mumblecore, and emo-inspired, that’s really SoundCloud’s biggest claim to fame. Yet, SoundCloud deserves so much more attention than that. SoundCloud is the only platform I have discovered that enables me to listen to quality recordings, released by artists and labels themselves, of entire concerts and sets. Now, my gigantic curated playlist of smoke music is hours long, because each “song” is a 60-90 minute set from one of my favorite DJs.
Being an electronic and trap music aficionado, my genres are somewhat limited in what I can recommend… but for every listener clicking the LoFi Hip Hop radio YouTube stream, there are probably hundreds of complete sets from their preferred genres. If you’re looking to mindlessly throw on music for a prolonged period of time, with chiller vibes, SoundCloud will guarantee more control and specificity, while not limiting your discovery.
My favorite method for new SoundCloud set-searching is engineered to ensure I’ll find something I like, new to me. Yes, the work in searching is slightly more involved than going to YouTube and clicking a stream, but is it far more worth it? Absolutely. I like to find a recent music festival that I would totally go to if money, time and distance were no obstacle, but since my resources are limited, I have to make decisions… And all the festivals that I miss (and the ones I attended) become my source for fire sets. For example, the last festival I would have attended if possible was Lollapallooza, and the artist I would have most treasured seeing would be the queen, world-bass producer CloZee. Lo and behold, the week after she played, she released her 60 minutes+ set on SoundCloud only. CloZee has admitted some of her music is exclusive to festivals only, so without these uploads, we the fans would be bereft of her best tunes!
Essentially, why haven’t you created a SoundCloud account yet? Don’t you know what you’re missing out?! SoundCloud isn’t even paying me, I’m just that big of a fan.