SpaceGhostPurrp - Mysterious Phonk: The Chronicles Of SpaceGhostPurrp | Album Review | By Volume

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SpaceGhostPurrp

Mysterious Phonk

Whispers turn to anthems on this South Florida MC’s proper debut.

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Author: on July 19, 2012
7.5
4AD
June 12, 2012

It is somewhat saddening on a number of levels that a hip-hop feud just had to erupt between the Raider Klan and A$AP Mob. After Rocky’s excellent LongLiveA$AP (2011) and his collection of exciting collaborations with Purrp that stood out on a particularly strong mixtape one would assume their future partnership would lead to gold. Sound that buzzer as supposedly some dude from A$AP beat the shit out of some other guy from Raider Klan effectively flushing those dreams down the crapper and creating a whole whirlwind of controversy to surround both Purrp’s and Rocky’s debut records. Not to assert that, if even somewhat limited, said media coverage is really a negative thing—press is press especially for artist trying to break out of the underground.  I just hope the foolish standoff does not galvanize those who could otherwise be devoted fans of both intriguing musicians. So beyond the possible lack of any more gems a-la “Purple Swag: Chapter Two” folks may approach these records with somewhat skewed impressions.

Concerning SpaceGhostPurrp though it is difficult to foresee these preconceived notions lasting very long into the first spin of Mysterious Phonk: The Chronicles Of SpaceGhostPurrp. “I’ve got to have the world in my hands / I’m a god / I’m no longer a black man” he asserts on the excellently sinister “The Black God” a brooding tune that builds from sparse horn rumbles to a gravel shaking beat culminating in a hazy departure. This is the record’s first single and for all intents and purposes is a fantastic snap shot at the sparse, gloomy and at times extremely frightening world Purrp has cultivated. “See the world is not a safe place / Need to keep a smile up on your face” he concludes to send off Mysterious Phonk’s introductory single, yet this ethos is partially what grants Purrp a definitive gravitas to his mumbles and quick whispers. His production reflects the likes of an early Massive Attack melding their menacing beats with a penchant for horrific themes a la Three Six Mafia all posturing Purrp’s calculated flow. Which in and of itself is almost enough to sell Mysterious Phonk on its own; SpaceGhost’s rapping varies from soft whispers, to Tricky-esque laissez faire bars to more a traditional grit, generally in a single song at that. Not to mention the sleazy synths and bombastic bass-lines Purrp seems born to fuse together infectiously behind the boards. This is Miami Vice seen through an ancient lens in sepia tone.

That’s why I stay to myself / Because I always must elevate” Purrp assures us amongst reverse-rotating bells and porno samples on the exceptional “Elevate”  essentially blueprinting Mysterious Phonk and its successes for us. For a rap record, this is extremely lonely and not in an: “aw, I wish there were more guests” sense–many may initially leave Mysterious Phonk wondering, exactly, what the hell they have just heard. Much like his buddy Juicy J, Purrp occupies this misanthropic apocalypse yet it is very much his realm and his alone. At twenty-one Purrp has already begun nurturing his own distinct production style (dark-as-oil-gloom) and essentially carries an entire fourteen track, hour long record on his own. We take for granted sometimes, as listeners, the sheer amount of content hip-hop artist present to us album in and album out. Not even mentioning mixtapes sixty minutes is pretty standard for most rap long-players; so when folks clamor around an artist like say The Roots and their exceptional string of recent records declaring it lazy for simply just managing a forty minute run-time with major-label backing—one is curious as to what they’d say to Mysterious Phonk. Sixty minutes is easier to fill in when you’re putting your buddies on or the label has a new artist they’d like to push—by yourself is a much trickier issue. Granted most of Mysterious Phonk is re-recordings of Purrp’s music from the past year so he is working with familiar materials yet saying that is like asserting anyone else in the sandbox is molding with the same Play-Doh as Purrp. They simply are not and at this point it looks like, thankfully, few may even try.

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