David Redwine, aka- erthling., has worn many hats over the years as a part of the burgeoning Birmingham and Tuscaloosa hip-hop scenes. Having worked as both a solo artist, and as a part of groups like Pen Pals and his newest project 729 wth collaborator/emcee OZU, Redwine has found himself at the forefront of a new cerebral rap movement here in town—alongside other great local acts like Shaheed & DJ Supreme, The Green Seed and Nerves Baddington—that’s helping put Alabama bars and beats on both an upward trajectory and higher plane of consciousness.
Influenced by the Afrofuturism of Flying Lotus and Seattle’s Shabazz Palaces, as well as the psychedelic electronic freak-folk of Animal Collective and experimental jazz, Redwine draws from a diverse collection of influences—or as he likes to say, “music that creates mysterious energy and sparks my mind”—that speaks to a decidedly modern, or even post-modern, era of new Magic City hip-hop artists.
Describing his sound as “magical realizm,” a phrase that also happens to be the name of his most recent self-release, erthling.’s expressive lyricism and inventive production techniques combine what he likes to think of as, “Fantastic themes and magical happenings detailed in a poetic, but more normative kind of way. A study of self, and of the things around me. Done in a way that you can head nod to, or completely zone out with.”
Funky, progressive, and thoughtful—with a knack for unique samples and arrangements—Redwine’s effortless flow and scholarly slanguage have been gaining him increased notoriety among enlightened hip-hop heads as well as those looking for deeper meanings and messages beyond the garbled lyrical content offered by the current crop of controversial mumble rappers like Lil Peep, Tekashi 6ix9ine and the recently deceased XXXTentacion. More in line with creative minds like Kendrick Lamar, or even older acts like A Tribe Called Quest, his distinct style has proven to be a calling card more and more people are dialing into.
Like many young aspiring rappers and musicians, he’s been taking full advantage of online venues like Soundcloud to reach an audience beyond the confines of his home state, but he also sees the local community here as being the bedrock and inspiration for his visionary beatmaking. “BIRMINGHAM HIP-HOP IS AMAZING and I’m in awe of everything I see happening around me,” he says. “We have a DEEP scene, with some of the most talented, hungry-to-create people I’ve ever met.”
As a longtime fixture of the extended LOBOTOMIX hip-hop family, and having recently wowed fans with two amazing sets at this summer’s Secret Stages festival, Birmingham seems poised to help elevate him to the next level of his career. And with a new solo album on the way this month, plus a series of four-song EPs coming down the pipe with OZU on Hive Muzik, he may very well take off into the stratosphere.
Photography Liesa Cole
Produced by Stan Bedingfield
Shot on location at Studio Goodlight
Hair and make-up by Brittany McNaughton and Team Forecast
Photo styling: Drea Zacharenko
Writer and curator: Lee Shook.
Art direction: robin colter.
Butlery: James Erik Young