The defining story of hip hop in 2011 was the rise of Odd Future. Tyler and company spent the year inciting riots and confounding critics, before establishing a record label and getting a TV deal. Whatever your take on the divisive and controversial crew, suffice it to say that the biggest lesson for fans of the genre is that 90s babies do hip hop differently: weirder, darker, and more drugged out. Knocking down the door that OFWGKTA opened up, Harlem’s A$AP Rocky has dominated the scene since LiveLoveA$AP dropped on Halloween. A$AP is nobody’s idea of a gifted lyricist, but the production on his debut is striking; it’s more sinister and more ethereal than anything in the game. The best known and most talented producer on the album is Clams Casino, but the album also features two cuts by the next star of based / swag hip hop: Spaceghostpurrp.
Miami’s Muney Jordan has christened himself with a name only a late night stoner can appreciate. Spaceghostpurrp’s influences are the epitome of millenial hip hop: early Three 6 Mafia and DJ Screw, Mortal Kombat and the occult, purple weed and purple drank. The beats are detuned, dripping with syrupy bass. Purists will no doubt blanch at his simplistic flow, but as for creating a vibe and a mood, Spaceghostpurrp is unmatched. From the skull emblazoned cover of last summer’s Blackland Radio 66.6 mixtape (stylized as Blvcklvnd Rvdix, in the style of the day) to fuzzy cassette type mastering, everything feels as underground as a coffin.
The 22 track Blackland Radio is predictably sprawling and uneven, but the highlights are diamonds in the rough. Beyond the unprintable chorus, there is actually a safe sex anthem somewhere in the raunchy boom bap of “Suck a Dick for 2011” (and fear not, there is already a 2012 follow-up: “Blvck Lipstick S.A.N.D. 2012“). “Pheel Tha Phonk” is classic g-funk lean, as if ripped off a tape released sometime around Spaceghostpurrp’s 1991 birthdate.
Last weekend I attended Spaceghostpurrp’s first hometown show, held in downtown Miami’s Eve (the former White Room, where I saw Rusko in December 2009), a pretty shady venue that stretches the definition of a nightclub. The crowd was, like Spaceghostpurrp’s Raider Klan, mostly underage, decked out in snapbacks and streetwear. Members of the Raider Klan crowded the stage, with various rappers and DJs taking turns warming up the crowd, with mixed results. The headliner’s set was brief but intense, and the crowd – ecstatic to see one of their own on stage – ate it up.
The fact that the show was one of his first is indicative of the music world in 2012 (just ask Lana Del Rey). This is an artist raised by both the streets and Adult Swim who has honed his craft in the unnerving glow of the computer screen rather than the stage. The contrasts are the foundation that allows Spaceghostpurrp to craft this otherworldly music. Other than sounding vaguely Southern, there isn’t a sense of place in his music (“the Internet” doesn’t count). Still, when he grounds his production in something more local, Spaceghostpurrp turns in one of his tightest songs yet: the Miami bass jam “Don’t Give a Damn.”
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In 2011, the world discovered Odd Future. In 2012, Spaceghostpurrp proves that 2011 was just the beginning.
Download: Spaceghostpurrp – Blackland Radio 66.6