by Opinion Editor Aria Lakhmani
As a burgeoning star who remained on the fringes of the cloud rap scene until last year, 25-year-old British-Swedish rapper Ecco2k is forging his own style in an ever-expanding genre that’s famous for its dream-like beats and use of autotune. Characterized by his fluttering voice, Ecco2k’s music pushes the boundary of rap while serving as a platform to spark discussion about mental health and racial dynamics.
Swedish rapper Ecco2k is a rising star in the ever-expanded genre of cloud rap.
Though Ecco2k’s formal musical debut was in 2019 through his album E, the rapper had previously been featured on the albums D&G and Trash Island with his fellow labelmates, Bladee and Thaiboy Digital. While lending his airy voice to these musical initiatives, Ecco2k didn’t stay idle, serving as a creative director for Swedish rapper Yung Lean, editing music videos for record producer Yves Tumor, and designing clothing and shoes. These collaborations and ventures are reflected in the album E: Ecco2k cites Bladee and Thaiboy Digital, who are fellow members of the Drain Gang collective, and a pioneer of cloud rap, Yung Lean, as inspirations.
Ecco2k’s fellow members of the Drain Gang Collective, Bladee and Thaiboy Digital, serve as inspirations for his music.
Though these artists’ influences are apparent in his music, Ecco2k’s musical style is quite distinct from other artists in the cloud rap genre, venturing into ambient pop and experimental rap. On E, Ecco2k’s angelic voice, complemented by ethereal beats, pays tribute to his inspirations while straying from the mold by incorporating elements of ambient pop.
However, this musical style isn’t the only aspect of his music that sets him apart from adjacent artists: his lyrics are rife with self-expression, highlighting mental health and his experience as a Black person in Sweden. In the track “Peroxide,” Ecco2k sings, “No peroxide / I stay dark,” alluding to the skin lightening properties of peroxide, and on “Fragile,” he makes another reference to skin colors, “Skin, bone and sun lotion / Skin tone like Diet Cola.”
Ecco2k directed his own music video for his song “Peroxide.”
“I used to not want to be in the sun because I didn’t want to get sunburned; I didn’t want to get darker skin and just, like, really dumb stuff like that,” he said in an interview with Vogue. “But now it’s kind of the other way around, so I’m very much embracing being a Black person.”
With this vulnerability, Ecco2k immediately casts himself into the spotlight on the cloud rap scene, pushing the envelope in every way possible. As a polymath, the amount of avenues that Ecco2k will explore are boundless, yet they promise to be filled with creativity and emotion.