The sound of West Coast hip-hop is typically characterized by uptempo production featuring prominent bass tracks, high-pitched melodies, simple hi-hat patterns and a laid back, smooth vocal delivery. Recently, it has seen a resurgence, in large part due to artists like SOB X RBE and Blueface. Their popularity has shifted the landscape of mainstream hip-hop production as a whole and has gradually trickled down to impact the underground. One artist who has always been true to the West Coast sound is Bills (@bills1x). As both a producer and rapper, Bills’ sound has remained consistent, even before other artists began to adopt the West Coast sound as their own. His most recent track “Chase” reinforces his consistency, utilizing a unique lead melody and catchy hook to entrance the listener.

The track starts in an ominous fashion — utilizing a subtle, spacious hit pattern layered on top of a sample loop of chirping crickets. At first, one may think that this is part of a skit – in a similar vein to a song such as Biggie’s, “Warning” – but when the beat drops, it becomes clear that the crickets are being utilized as the lead melody. This alone is an impressive and creative approach to production, and distinguishes Bills from other West Coast artists. Outside of the lead melody, the beat is simple yet tasteful — utilizing a trunk-rattling 808, understated hi-hat rolls and the occasional bongo hit. Bills’ bars are cold-blooded, and they notably address his ambitions and distaste for charlatans. His subject matter contrasts with his laid-back delivery, but in a pleasant, paradoxical manner. 

Chase is a lowkey, austere banger. Its unique production and ruthless bars are a great representation of West Coast hip-hop as a whole, and one can only hope it gains more traction in due time.