Los Angeles has seen a deluge of quality experimental hip-hop and dance producers in recent years, and in that anything-goes creative setting, LA native Pawn manages to mash up homegrown sounds with inspired flashes of footwork and jungle. It’s surprising that “Hot Skull”—a spastic cut with slight EDM touches featured on the upcoming Smog City 2 compilation—actually works, but the screeching breakdowns and ever-changing rhythms associated with that scene are put to good use here. Pawn’s latest cut doesn’t stay in one place for long; its skittering hi-hats and drum & bass breaks—along with a footwork-inspired, pushy vocal sample—are a little overwhelming, but “Hot Skull” never dumbs itself down or manipulates listeners into submission.

Hot Skull