When Three 6 Mafia released their seminal classic, Mystic Stylez, in 1995, I doubt they had any idea that a good fifteen years later, their music would inspire an entire generation of rappers. It’s impossible to ignore the haunted-house, codeine-inspired sonic aspect that’s really come to prominence over the past year amongst today’s brightest rappers. The contentious lyrics, the depraved yet self-aware sense of humor – it all defines today’s most buzzed about rappers. Because of this, critics are often inclined to lump them all together despite the fact that these artists, inspired by similar sources, are entirely different creatures. Spaceghostpurrp, even in his earliest press reports, can’t seem to escape comparisons to his trend-setting peers.
He will be labeled as a based alternative, he’ll be labeled as a product of Odd Future’s influence, and he maybe completely overlooked in a few weeks because writers will move onto the next movement. I can see where these may seem like viable opinions, as this new wave of arthouse-meets-drughouse quasi-gangsta rap is sorta spilling out of the blogosphere like no one’s business. There’s too many kids riding the Based God’s coattails, and equally as many trying to get a piece of Odd Future’s controversial pie. What these aspiring artists don’t realize is that they need to offer an alternative to that music; they need to put their own spin on a budding music scene that’s just waiting to be further explored. The Green Ova crew has done a great job of crafting their own sound, something that appeals to the fanbases of both artists but is uniquely its own. Spaceghostpurrp is the next in that line.
Spaceghostpurrp doesn’t really exist amongst the rest of his lo-fi, clipped-bass contemporaries, but instead resides in his own space; one where he transverses the galaxy, traveling from one hazy planet to the next. Rappers of his ilk are often credited as existing in a vacuum, but Purrp is clearly influenced by the world around him; it’s just that the world around him appears to be set in the 90s. It’s no surprise then that Purrp has said “fu*k New Rap” on numerous occasions, a statement he obviously doesn’t mean (at least not whole-heartedly) as he clearly has a lot of admiration for the previously mentioned Lil B and Odd Future, and there are many shoutouts to Max B and his wave, as well as Brick Squad, Curren$y and Wiz Khalifa (although he’s gone on record since the release of this mixtape to say “fu*k Taylor Gang,” including releasing a song with that very title).
Despite having a youthful quality and energy to his music, it’s very stuck in the slowed down, Screw and Buck Music of the 90s. Equally inspired by Memphis’ Hypnotized Minds camp and Houston’s Screwed Up Click, Carol City (the same one that birthed Officer Ricky) native Spaceghostpurrp crafts a style that lives in today’s post-Lil B scene with a strong throwback vibe. While most of New York’s modern rappers spend their entire careers trying to pay homage to their roots, Spaceghostpurrp, at the (not so) tender age of 20, has been able to create a few bodies of work that not only serve as tributes to his heroes, but also function as genuinely compelling records on their own right.
While not quite the wordsmith of some of his influences, Purrp has a grand ear for music and sequencing. As a producer himself, Purrp has managed to craft a very cohesive sound so early into his career, a dark, looming thump that samples everything from cartoons to old soft rock records depending on the song. The first song itself, Spaceship, soars along with a saxophone line as well as more Space Ghost samples than you could possibly count. This is when you realize exactly what you’re in for on this record, his love of the old Hannah-Barbera mascot as strong as his infatuation with DJ Paul and Juicy J’s aesthetic.
Spaceship sets the general tone of the album, but is no indication of the madness that will follow later; s3x Money and Drugs, the follow track, is a stronger example of the frantically-paced, off-kilter music that follows down the line. It’s also here that his signature voice really starts to shine through; almost equal parts Master P (circa The Ghetto’s Trying To k!ll Me/Ice Cream Man) and Eazy-E. The Master P drawl is almost certainly a product of his Southern roots and the time-frame of music that he’s so drawn to, but it’s the almost high-pitched snarl that brings about memories of a young Eric Wright rapping through a mesh-fence on the music video to Eazy’s Real Muthaphuckin’ G’z. The following track being title Foe Tha Love Of Money only further reinforces this image.
He’s definitely inheirited some of Eazy’s trademark humor as well, as I Love Lesbians is a hilariously raunchy tale of his quest for girls with girlfriends. It’s brilliant in all its juvenile glory, Purrp’s demeanor completely free of restraint, but also focused on how he’s about to snatch your ho for a threesome.
From here, the mixtape only gets stronger with each individual cut, the bass getting louder, the songs getting more abrasive, the concepts stronger. Friday is a feel good weekend anthem that sounds absolutely nothing like any song that previously held its name; sampling Cherelle and Alexander O’Neal’s Saturday Love, Friday turns this overly happy dance record into a smokey, club-hopping record that strips it of its original message and implements a more modern, realistic take on today’s party club-atmosphere. If Purrp’s initial demeanor didn’t make you think he had some sort of vendetta against humanity, Friday will.
Spaceghostpurrp is a young artist raised by hip-hop and Cartoon Network re-runs, and he waves that flag proudly; however, he never really pushes the weirdo-envelope that far, as his actual raps are rooted in a smoked-out, drunken flow reminiscent of early Mobb Deep and TRU records. He says himself on his Twitter profile that he’s an “underrated rapper from the 90s with a Vintage Mindstate.” NASA: The Mixtape is certainly vintage, but it’s also a rather definitive piece of work in a scene that is full of artists who aren’t sure how to convey their message. I’ll certainly be looking out for anything he releases in the future.