Over the past eleven years, Cartoon Network offshoot Adult Swim has expanded from merely a TV programming block to a full-fledged alternative music hub. Beginning with compilations like Definitive Swim (featuring artists from now-defunct indie rap label Def Jux) and ATL RMX (a collection of remixes of Atlanta hip-hop), the company quickly identified itself as a home for forward-thinking, left-of-center music releases. Now operating a record label that’s released albums by Killer Mike, Tim & Eric, Dethklok, and more, Adult Swim’s become a major player, and its crown jewel in recent years has been its annual singles program.
Starting in 2010, the program ran a song-a-week release schedule all summer. Recognizable names from every corner of music abound, but Adult Swim Singles’ claims-to-fame include the sole Pig Destroyer song of the last five years, the sole Madvillain song of the last decade, and the sole Sleep song of the past fifteen years. How a cartoon company continues to coax supergroups out of retirement, we have no idea, but we’re sure as hell grateful for it.
This year, Adult Swim announced that instead of merely putting out tracks over the summer, the 2017 singles program will run a full 52 weeks. Huge names such as Brian Eno, Dinosaur Jr., DOOM & Jay Electronica, and Sleep (again) are on the bill, but in contrast with recent years that seemed to only have room for upper echelon names, there’s plenty of more under-the-radar acts this time around. Although he’s been making music for almost a decade now, Helado Negro is one of them.
The Florida-born, Brooklyn-based singer/producer has released six albums in the last eight years, culminating with last year’s excellent Private Energy. His entry into the 2017 Singles Program is a delicate love song entitled “Come Be Me” that’s led by buoyant synths and Negro (real name Roberto Carlos Lange)’s sweet baritone. Preceded by a ferocious punk track from Downtown Boys and Zaytoven-helmed collaboration between Twista and Bankroll Fresh (RIP), this synth-poppy Helado Negro track is yet another illustration of just how eclectic Adult Swim compilations are.