Yet none of that is as brazen as ‘Elon Musk’, ‘LLC’ or ‘Crypto’. At the time of writing, all three songs are on Spotify’s gargantuan Rap Caviar playlist, signaling that more shillings are unfortunately to come.
The top five beats of Atlanta underground workhorse SenseiATL
Recently I fell into a wormhole of productions from SenseiATL, which has a catalog that ranges from hardened ATL trap to soft pluggnb, with most of its instrumentals exploring the space between those poles. Due to his chameleonic nature, his name isn’t often mentioned among Atlanta’s heavyweight beatmakers, but he’s been a fixture in the constantly evolving underground scene for over half a decade. Here are some of his best work:
I swear by the run of Larry League mixtapes between 2015’s Not coming back and 2016 Let it go† Sensei produced and rapped in the Atlanta-based trio, and his beat for “Flex on Myself” has a hypnotic melody that sounds just as good today as it did when it came out six years ago.
Wintertime has to be one of the most confusing rappers of the mid-2010s. Sounding like he had faded in the booth, the Florida MC released some good mixtapes and a single (“Thru It All”) that got so big that Erykah Badu jumped on the remix – then just disappeared. My favorite track of his is the Sensei-produced “Coach Winter,” where Wintertime sounds like he’s reading the front page of ESPN.com while thumping thumping drums and enchanting cosmic sounds.
Yachty probably grew too big too quickly, so he never really got a chance to delve into Sensei’s more spaced-out sounds. “Juug” was never officially released, although it should have been – the lightness of Sensei’s sweet beeps and boops perfectly complements Yachty’s playful flow-switching.
This song may be over four years old, but it feels like a piece with what today’s best plugg producers like Cashcache and Glumboy are putting out. The soaring synths and drum patterns are so calm, they create a winning clash with Nolan’s cartoonish crackling voice.
Many of the beats on this list are a few years old, but I believe the best Sensei has made so far was from 2021. Authentic Goods, the band he produced for Tony Shhnow, sounds nothing like the instrumentals he made in the beginning. These are usually incredibly soulful, with a Quiet Storm smoothness and clean sputtering drums. “Right Now” is a highlight so soothing it could start a new move called “Plugg beats to study to.”