With the rise of Internet rap in the mid-2000s follows a new sound — one that aims to twist as many rules of contemporary rap music as possible. In his second EP, 5% Aquarium, Drool Audrey fuels the fire of modern experimental hip-hop through mind-bending trap-based production, vivid, outlandish storytelling, and deliberate, unconventional flows that ride over the beat with ease. Drool begins the EP with an opening line that promptly captures the unique absurdity of his sound: “Told this thot come over, let’s go see pink elephants / I just popped up like ‘ahoy’, I’m feeling excellent.” The production is often metallic, pulsing, and bass-heavy; easy enough to follow, yet nuanced enough to be tough to grasp at first listen. In 5%, Drool joins the ranks of artists such as 100gecs or SOPHIE whose avant-garde sound design can come off as so ludicrous and unbelievable at first listen that — somehow, someway — it just works.
I met Drool at Firehouse Subs (his choice) where we discussed his new EP.
What does 5% Aquarium mean?
For the most part, It just sounds cool. I want people to look at me like I’m a fish in an aquarium or something. It’s going to be most people’s first introduction to me from Eighty [with Deep Ends]. I’m probably going to call my full-length album 95%-something to fit in with the whole 5% thing. I dunno — I guess I just wanted to go with something that nobody else was doing.
5% Aquarium only has four tracks on it. What’s the creative process like for making an EP this concise?
After my first EP last year, Under the Sea, I started “Gooped Up” and didn’t focus on music for a little while afterward to focus on school. But during the process of making Eighty, Sister made a beat on my computer which I turned into “Talk to Me Nice”. Each one of these songs is made within a night or two, so I make them pretty quickly.
Did you scrap any songs?
There are quite a few recurring themes in the EP, including paranoia, jewelry, and “goop”. How do you come up with it all?
It’s all a part of the story, I guess. I’m telling stories here. “Arrival Freestyle” is just about me showing off, and “Gooped Up” is similar in that sense, but I’m just trying to show myself off in a unique way. “Goop” is just me finding myself and striving towards what I want to do.
With such a unique sound, are you ever afraid of coming off as too weird for the average listener? Are you directing yourself towards a certain audience?
I’m not worried about that. I just make what I want, and if people see me as weird, that’s fine with me. I don’t know. If you fuck with it, you fuck with it, and that’s really that.
Would you consider yourself weird?
No doubt. I rap with a weird-ass voice. I’m into experimenting as much as I can. I’m only going to get weirder from here.
If you could describe 5% Aquarium with one word, what would it be?
Because it’s your introduction?
Where would you like to see yourself in five years’ time?
I want to be able to make a living off of music by then. I don’t really care if I’m big or not as long as I can do that. I just want to put shit out and hope people appreciate it to the point where I can do it for a living.
Any other goals?
I want to act. I’m not a good writer, but I want to write a book, like a collection of some short stories. Random shit. Like Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark.
How do you want others to see you (if that matters)?
I want to be known as an icon. I want people to look at me and think, like, wow, “that’s my guy’”. I just want people to have their eyes on me with whatever I do, whether it’s music or not.
Has working on Eighty as part of the Deep Ends collective changed your approach or sound in any way?
Yeah, working on Eighty and listening to everyone else made me want to go full-on when experimenting with my voice and the beats. I just wanted to branch out and be unique. If you listen to my music from 2017, it’s nothing like what I’m going to put out now. It’ll only get weirder from here.
Any last words?
Listen to 5% Aquarium. Album will be out soon after. I love you.