Clams Casino

One of the more creative left-field hip-hop figures to surface during the late 2000s/early 2010s, New Jersey-based producer Clams Casino, born Michael Volpe, landed his first collaboration after contacting the Pack's Lil B via MySpace. The MC proceeded to use several Clams Casino productions, all of which were trippy, wistful, and strangely emotive, for the likes of "Realist Alive," "Motivation," and "I'm God." The last one of those three was also used by Soulja Boy for "2 Milli." Volpe's profile gradually rose as word got out that he was the one behind these tracks, as well as material by Main Attrakionz, Main Attrakionz's Squadda Bambino, and Mobb Deep's Havoc. In March 2011, he uploaded a free 13-track mixtape of instrumentals -- something of a highlight reel, along with a previously unused beat. This preceded the first official Clams Casino solo release, the Rainforest EP, which was issued by Tri Angle that June. Additional instrumental mixtapes were issued in 2012 and 2013, a period during which tracks by the likes of A$AP Rocky, Mac Miller, and Blood Orange were released with his production work. Among Volpe's more notable collaborations to surface in 2014 and 2015 were ScHoolboy Q's "Gravy," FKA twigs' "Hours," and three cuts from Vince Staples' Summertime '06. Signed to Columbia, Volpe made his major-label debut as an artist in 2016 with 32 Levels. A fourth instrumental mixtape appeared in 2017. ~ Andy Kellman

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