Childish Major has the right pseudonym for a producer whose studio essentials include Lay's Kettle Cooked jalapeño potato chips and cartoons. That air of mischief extends to his ear for quirky melodies and ominous beats. One beat in particular, "U.O.E.N.O.," has had his name ringing out across the country this year. Created two years ago, when he relocated from South Carolina to Atlanta and hooked up with DJ Spinz's HPG (Hoodrich Producers Group), the beat he'd originally recorded with Harlem's A$AP Rocky in mind languished in obscurity until, unbeknownst to Childish Major, Atlanta's own Rocko jumped on it with his homie Future and Rick Ross. Not even Ross's divisive date-rape reference could overshadow the song's eerily seductive synth line, which seems better suited for snake charmers than Southern rappers.
While Reebok reacted to the controversy by dropping Ross as a spokesperson, every rapper worth his salt clamored to hop on the never-ending rollout of "U.O.E.N.O." remixes (including A$AP Rocky, Wiz Khalifa, 2 Chainz, Kendrick Lamar, and the TDE camp, Trinidad James, Cory Gunz, et al). With a signature sound the hip-hop/indie rock blog Pigeons and Planes accurately describes as "accessibly dark, borderline psychedelic," Childish Major's résumé now includes recently released and forthcoming music from big-timers Juicy J, Gucci Mane, Jeezy, L.E.P. Bogus Boys, Usher, and more.
But his growing prominence could have the biggest effect on the #NewAtlanta acts he began lacing with tracks before the industry renown. New devotees will find his deepest well of work on mixtapes and songs released by MCs affiliated with the city's emerging class, including Rome Fortune (Voyeur, Beautiful Pimp), Wavy Wallace ("Waste of Time"), and such members of the Two9 collective as Curtis Williams ("Automatic," "Bare Essentials"). His own forthcoming compilation, Rights For Wrongs, will be essential listening, too. In a genre where the next sonic groundswell is determined by the producer of the moment, Childish Major is in his prime.