From house music to experimental bass and now rap, Barclay Crenshaw is proving that he can do it all.

His new single, “Cannibal Strings,” highlights an unapologetic willingness to step outside the box and experiment with new sounds. Influenced by hip-hop icons MF Doom and Rakim, Crenshaw takes to the mic to grapple with his life’s changes and tap into his Detroit roots.

Clever, tongue-in-cheek lyrics complement a percussion-heavy hip-hop beat with a punchy vocal hook in “Cannibal Strings.” The track is a stark contrast from the sound of the bass music virtuoso, who recently released his debut album, Open Channel.

“I have made hip-hop in the past but never donned the mic as the emcee on an official release,” Crenshaw said in a press release. “As early as 11 years old I was beatboxing into one tape deck then playing it back and rapping into another in his bathtub (for the reverb.) In the early 90s, I even recorded a full rap album and sold the cassettes door-to -door and made $800. On ‘Cannibal Strings’ I discuss the sale of my record label and the wild change from being a 20-year veteran house DJ [Claude VonStroke] to a brand new emcee.”

Barclay Crenshaw.

Don Idio/DI Visuals

Fearlessly crafting his fresh narrative and testing out bold, new sounds, Crenshaw’s experimental attitude and unique perspective are propelling him forward.

“This BC project is all about getting over all my hangups and fears,” reads a newsletter he issued yesterday. “Regardless of how this music is received, thank you to the people who support me and enable me to take risks and put myself out there. I’ve grown more as an artist this year than the last 10 years combined and I truly appreciate the people who are on this journey with me.”

Crenshaw also announced he’s offering special music packages “for any hungry remixers out there” featuring liner notes, lyrics, uncompressed audio and more. Remixers are encouraged to send their versions to the producer after accessing the bundles.

Hot off the heels of an innovative Caverns show and performance at the dazzling 2024 edition of Detroit’s iconic Movement Festival, Crenshaw continues to power through his tour with energy and finesse. His next stops include Electric Forest and Shambhala, among other major festivals.

Listen to “Cannibal Strings” below and find the new single on streaming platforms here.

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