There is little that can pin down Tampa Bay duo They Hate Change. As self-professed ‘Anglophiles’ the pair have steered away from the conventional tropes that fall under hip-hop, reaching for the niche and ever-evolving. The duo mark a friendship stumbled upon by the apartment complex that saw both through their teenage-hood, bringing together members Vonne and Dre. Drawing parallels between the rave-rabid spread of acid house across Florida and the UK, They Hate Change re-imagine the likes of jungle, breakbeat, happy hardcore and footwork into one, pointing towards Goldie, D Double E and Brian Eno as key influences. 2020’s EP ‘666 Central Ave’ is unabashed in its audacious, chaotic energy, setting the tone for the ‘bedroom rap all-stars.’
Making a definitive step into their discography, They Hate Change’s debut album ‘Finally, New’ masters its genre-bending, finding a balance between club bangers and hip-hop leaning cuts. There is a more adaptive, focussed feel across the tracklist, piecing together a cohesive listen from start to finish. Weaving between their own styles and influences, Vonne and Dre share and interchange the role of producer and rapper throughout. Opening track ‘Stuntro’ eases listeners in, catching the duo in a mellow haze as they re-affirm “this what full creative control sound like.” Quick to pick up the tempo enters ‘Breathing,’ a swirling playful track that takes a sharp turn mid-way, throwing listeners into a sweat-inducing oldskool jungle beat repping a bumbling distorted bass and drums. They Hate Change sit between performing and MCing, both careful in their lyricism but also embedding themselves within a broader sound, needless to demand a vocal spotlight. Further into the project, highlight moments like ‘Blatant Localism’ bite back at the superficiality of rap stardom, setting the duo apart from their peers. “I’m addressing all of y’all if you’re tryna get specific…”
It is this same bold statement that projects itself across, particularly on the trickling ‘1000 Horses,’ flexing their artistic autonomy over DIY, lo-fi production. “We run them beats, them beats don’t run we.” In a way, the production across ‘Finally, New’ speaks for itself with standout single ’From The Floor,’ serving as a dark club night pulser. Relentless in its rhythm, the track is an entrancing approach to footwork with haunting lyrical delivery from Vonne and Dre. Directed by Xandra Robyn, the closer’s visuals directly reference Florida’s car culture and car park Electro parties, amplifying its underground sonics.
Making their debut on independent label Jagjaguwar (Junglepussy, Moses Sumney,) ‘Finally, New’ is a daring reach into the future. Firmly establishing itself amongst British sub-cultures at its own leisure, They Hate Change is a buzzing escapade that re-defines its own boundaries.
Words: Ana Lamond
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