Release Date: Jun 12, 2012
Record label: 4AD
Genre(s): Rap, Pop/Rock, Alternative Rap, Underground Rap, Hardcore Rap
A quick synopsis of 1997: Wu-Tang Forever, Kool Keith's Sex Style, Three 6 Mafia's Chapter 2: World Domination, and Massive Attack's Mezzanine could be found in the "New Item" sale racks at Sam Goody, theaters were showing Mortal Kombat: Annihilation, and SpaceGhostPurrp was celebrating his sixth birthday. Though he was only in elementary school at the time, the rapper/producer's no-fi mixtapes have largely sounded like bedroom transmissions from an especially creative kid paying tribute to this era with only the crudest computer technology. But SpaceGhostPurrp is more about re-imagination than revival.
Despite rolling with a name that brings to mind some sort of rejected Adult Swim cartoon character, there’s nothing buffoonish about SpaceGhostPurpp’s music. A South Floridian producer and emcee, he’s been slowly creating ripples throughout the underbelly of the Internet with a series of low-fi (and sometimes brilliantly cruddy sounding) mixtapes that excel at conjuring up a ominous vibe. Now, with Mysterious Phonk: Chronicles of SpaceGhostPurpp, he’s gone back to his dingy lab and tarted up some of his older material while adding some fresh additions to his vault.
“SpaceGhostPurrp signs to 4AD.” Those four words, spread around the blogosphere like a wild fire, changed the possibilities for mixtape rappers. After years of watching mixtape rappers rot on the vine waiting for advances from Def Jam, finally indie rock labels have started signing rappers. We eagerly await the day that other artistically vibrant mixtape rappers can get picked up by labels purporting to represent the best of the underground.
SpaceGhostPurrpMysterious Phonk: The Chronicles Of SpaceGhostPurrp[4AD; 2012]By Weston Fleming; July 19, 2012Purchase at: Insound (Vinyl) | Amazon (MP3 & CD) | iTunes | MOGImagine every sound that you’d expect from any macho, dimly-lit and explosion-filled sci-fi action flick: a few bells ringing down a burning subway tunnel, a warping bass line perfect for soundtracking an extended fight scene, some grating feedback-like synth, and a woman moaning, for good measure. Now imagine all of those sounds brought together and mixed into a three-minute instrumental. Now check "Bringing The Phonk"--the de facto title track of Miami MC-producer SpaceGhostPurrp's first commercial release, Mysterious Phonk: The Chronicles of SpaceGhostPurrp — to see how close you came to the actual thing.
Of all the artists in the post Drake/J. Cole school of using mixtape outlets like Datpiff, LiveMixtapes and stoned bloggers to build a fanbase and get a record deal, few have done it as strangely as SpaceGhostPurrp. His influences are so defiantly mid-‘90s (most directly Three 6 Mafia’s underground collections and Da Beatminerz brooding thuggery) that he’s thrown gaudy statements onto his tapes’ Pen & Pixel inspired cover arts like “Best Album of 1995!” And whether one approached his NASA series of chopped & screwed ephemera or his street albums, the mix was intentionally drowned in lost noise, Mortal Kombat samples and other attempts to sound like SpaceGhostPurrp was recording on little more than a cassette deck in between blunt rips and Mortal Kombat II tournaments.
Cloud rap feels like a crossroads, not so much in hip-hop itself as in hip-hop listenerdom. Scalar art criticism’s had its atomists at least since evaluation and archival became a private and vaguely autistic affair — the lyric vibe versus the ‘music’ vibe, overlapping but fundamentally occupying different ‘wavelengths,’ is somehow more intuitive and, perhaps correspondingly, more dangerous. Personally, I think this convenient parse can account for the overwhelming selection of Bob Dylan books in the music section at my local bookstore.
Likely the biggest thing the Internet has done for hip-hop is to make it possible to make regionless rap music. Unless you happen to be interested in biographies, you wouldn't necessarily know A$AP Rocky is from New York or that Kendrick Lamar is from Los Angeles. Hip-hop now pulls from multiple influences, where syrup-slow Southern beats can sit comfortably with Wu-Tang scratched vinyl and kung-fu samples.
If there was a hip-hop equivalent of Literary Review’s Bad Sex in Fiction Award, ‘Suck A Dick 2012’ from SpaceGhostPurrp’s debut album would be right up there. “[i]Shorty know how to clean, thoroughly and deeper/Back and forth, lovin’ her vacuum cleaner[/i]” he explains in his hushed and hyper-masculine tones, before adding: “[i]Baby I love your face, you use it well/Suck on my dick, suck on my dick, fuck 2012[/i]”. Thing is, if you can get past the hardcore rap misogyny, much of ‘Mysterious Phonk’ – the first official collection of tunes from Miami rapper Purrp’s career – is bloody weird and deeply unsettling.
After opening his official debut album with that "Russian recording of Hell" hoax looped into a sample, the aptly dubbed rapper/producer SpaceGhostPurrp offers "I don't have money, I don’t have cars/All I have is the truth and a couple of bars" before nailing his attractiveness with "Destroying competition 'cuz the style is unique. " Sure the stuff underneath borrows from witch house, cloud rap, and every other underground scene that doesn't want to be a scene in 2012, but Purrp's got his own way with this damned and foggy sound, explaining it on "No Evidence," saying his beats are "mystical things, vibrating like a beeper" as the epic night track creeps along for seven minutes of haunted elegance and whispered hooks. Those hooks and the crafted flow to each song here separate this ghost from A$AP Rocky and the rest of the Blvck Scvle set (all sharing a love of flipping their "A"s upside down for "V"s), and if you mention that this underground mixtape hero comes from Miami, you'd better remind folks that it's Florida that gave us Trina and true American death metal along with the glittery business of Pitbull and Rick Ross.
Florida-based rapper/producer SpaceGhostPurrp takes on lo-fi production aesthetics as a badge of honor, making beats that are just grimy and bedroom-produced enough to match his crude, sexually-obsessed, aggressively personal style. On Mysterious Phonk: Crhonicles of SpaceGhostPurrp, he finds himself under the 4AD banner, with an accompanying slight upgrade in production. For better or worse, though, that change in production can’t change the defiant SpaceGhostPurrp or his politics.
SpaceGhostPurrp Most of the debut album by SpaceGhostPurrp, “Mysterious Phonk: The Chronicles of SpaceGhostPurrp” (4AD), consists of cleaned-up versions of earlier mixtape tracks. And cleaned up is not a euphemism. This Miami rapper-producer’s earliest releases — especially the intoxicating ….
Sinister and shadowy raps to enjoy at your own risk. Darren Loucaides 2012 If you’re looking for some alternative super-genius saviour from the supposedly brainless, neon world of commercial hip hop (despicable killjoy that you are), then don’t expect it from SpaceGhostPurrp. At least not on this, his debut LP with 4AD, a label better known for releasing noisy indie and experimental pop music than bizzarro rap.