One of the main draws of HBO’s wildly popular romantic comedy-drama series Insecure is its creator’s golden ear for musical talent; writer/producer/star Issa Rae also curates the show’s soundtrack, which often features bubbling, under-the-radar talents as they rise to stardom — often spurred along by their placement in one of the show’s pivotal scenes. The latest recipients of Issa’s indelible taste-making are Dreamville Records ATLiens Earthgang, who debuted their latest Mirrorland single, “Stuck” with Midwestern singer Arin Ray, on last night’s penultimate episode of the season.
The group, a spiritual successor of fellow Atlantans Outkast from their sultry, slow-cooked, Southern musical stylings to their sometimes unusual sartorial choices, is gearing up for the release of their first album under J. Cole’s imprint, Mirrorland, after the success of their trio of EPs on the label, Rags, Robots, and Royalty, which were inspired by The Wizard Of Oz. “Stuck” weaves between soulful ballad and funky, two-stepping, slow groover, highlighting group members Johnny Venus and WowGr8 (formerly Doctur Dot)’s yin-and-yang chemistry and silver-tongued lyricism. Arin Ray, fresh off of his own eye-opening debut, Platinum Fire provides a scintillating chorus that counterbalances Earthgang’s bouncy bars with its singalong, pine-oil slickness.
You can catch Earthgang on tour with label boss J. Cole on his KOD tour, which wraps up October 10, 2018, in Boston, at TD Garden. Mirrorland is due early next year.