kill.dawn and Run Along Forever are Bringing a Fresh Sound to Midwest Hip-hop

Preston Breck
Aloy Xiong

Starting in Milwaukee, label/collective Run Along Forever is quickly putting itself at the forefront of the Midwest rap scene. Fusing the clap-based sounds of Milwaukee hip-hop from artists like Certified Trapper and MarijuanaXO with iconic internet samples and rage production, the label has been making a name for itself with tracks like “Just Bands” and “Pisces.” Their latest offering, kill.dawn’s exactly EP, only further proves the versatility and longevity of Run Along’s innovative sound.

For a six-track project, exactly covers a range of different sounds. Songs like “dover” and “helicopter” are fast-paced, hard-hitting bangers, made for the high-energy shows that Run Along is now notorious for throwing around the midwest. On the other hand, tracks like “whileyoucan” are more chill, showing dawn’s versatility over slower, more distorted instrumentals.

“mine” is a definite standout off of the EP. The song samples the iconic piano theme from the game “Minecraft,” adding staple Milwaukee claps and upbeat drums to turn the calm, ambient track into an uptempo banger. “chapter” brings all of these sounds together, taking a slower, glistening orchestral sample and adding hard hitting, rage-type drums. While the EP contains several different sonic elements, dawn ties these tracks together through his relaxed delivery and high-pitched vocals. The rapper perfectly fits over all of the project’s instrumentals, bringing energy to every song while letting its innovative production shine.

kill.dawn and Run Along Forever have cemented themselves as must-know names when thinking about the future of hip-hop in the midwest, and this EP only further shows how they can change the genre in the next few years.

Eli Samstad

To learn more about the waves they’ve been making, I spoke with Run Along Forever’s Nolan Busalacchi about dawn’s EP and what the label has planned for the future: 

Who are the biggest influences on your sound? You guys fuse a ton of different genres in all your music but has anything specific helped to shape how you create?

A lot of the samples we choose are from songs that we listened to growing up, like “Mine” off the EP, obviously samples Minecraft. We just try to pick unique sources of inspiration that people haven’t already tapped into.

How did the dawn EP come together as a whole? What does the average session look like for you guys?

The project was recorded over the course of like a couple weeks. Most sessions are just dawn locking in and recording by himself

You guys are becoming known for your electric shows throughout the Midwest. Do you focus on making music for that kind of atmosphere with a project like this, or is it more about the general vibe in the studio?

I think it’s a mix of both. There’s some songs we make knowing they’re gonna be hard at shows for sure, though.

Eli Samstad

How does it feel to have the city of Milwaukee pack out your shows and support your sound? It seems like every time you throw one the whole city shows up. Is it important for you guys to represent your town with shows like this?

Every show is always super important cause you always wanna put your best foot forward and make sure people have a good time. I think it’s really key to note that we built up an audience over time, the shows started pretty small and gradually became something we became known for. And obviously it’s always cool to put on for the city.

Let’s talk about Run Along Forever as a whole. How did the idea of Run Along start and what has it been like growing it into what it is now?

Basically it just started as a media brand with music videos and other content, but over time we’ve grown it into a record label. It’s been crazy to see the growth of everything and all the artists we’ve gotten to work with. Definitely a lot of hard work and days with no sleep.

Eli Samstad

It’s awesome to see it pay off. You guys dropped a ton of awesome projects this year from the dawn EP to other projects with AyooLii and Khal!l, what’s next for you guys? Anything planned that you can hint at?

All I’ll say is everyone got big things coming, stay tuned.

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