SpaceGhostPurrp @ Kilby Court 04.05 with Raider Klan, DopeThought

Posted April 12, 2013 in

I can’t say that I’ve ever been to a hip hop show in Salt Lake. Not that there isn’t a scene for it or that I’m not interested—I saw (and loved) Danny Brown, A$AP Mob, Schoolboy Q and Kendrick Lamar at Pitchfork Fest in Chicago last summer and House of LaDosha, who’s on the queer margins of hip hop, here last fall. I’m a Purrp fan not for his hip hop roots, but for his connection to a somewhat dissimilar genre—goth. The boundaries between any genres can be overcome in our post-Internet lives—witch house, a basic blend of goth, R&B and hip hop, is paving the way for such genre experimentation. Witchy is an apt description of Purrp’s music. In June of 2012, this Miami-based rapper was signed to the seminal British post-punk label 4AD, the home of Bauhaus, Cocteau Twins, Dead Can Dance and dark alternative music in the ’80s. 4AD has supported innovative artists since its inception in ’79 and has recently welcomed a host of young electronic artists into its family (Purity Ring, Grimes, inc.). Purrp’s acquisition by 4AD has been scandalous amongst the older generation of real (aka cheese) goths, who defiantly believe that music’s maturity stops with theirs. Are you punk, gothic, ghetto or preppy? Does it matter anymore? As goth mutates, hip hop follows; Mykki Blanco, LE1F and others are taking rap into explicitly queerer territory, A$AP Rocky describes himself as “pretty,” rapper Lil B is a post-Internet meme machine. Then there’s the likes of Die Antwoord’s Ninja, Riff Raff (seen Spring Breakers yet?), Lil Debbie, Kreashawn, Brook Candy…The-times-they-are-a-changin’ indeed. And with that context, I went to see SpaceGhostPurrp and his Raider Klan.

Local hip hop emcee DopeThought opened the set. Not being familiar with any such local groups, for most of their set I thought they were on tour with SpaceGhostPurrp. They handled the crowd deftly enough with a substantial set. Before leaving they addressed Purrp’s beef with A$AP, with a track that flaunted their full support for Purrp. I hope to go out of my normal music circles to see what these kids are getting up to in Salt Lake.

Raider Klan Mafia, or RVIDXR KLVN in “Raider hieroglyphics,” is the rap crew started by SpaceGhost, featuring members Ethelwulf, Yung Simmie, Chris Travis, Amber London and three others tonight. They’re touring in support of Purrp’s latest tape, BMW (Black Money World). Purrp’s crew laid down some support, taking turns playing tracks off of their own mixtapes and Kilby was lit by varying degrees from their smoker anthems. After some killer tunes (Amber London taking a terrific turn as emcee), the house lights dimmed to a dark red as Purrp emerged from the Klan. The small crowd went ballistic for it, getting even more hyped for Purrp’s performance. Purrp’s backing tracks are damn terrifying—they’re filled with warning sirens and ghostly traces of warped screams. Strip back the hard-edge rap ethos and what you’ll find at SpaceGhostPurrp’s core is a surreal Lynchian nightmare. Place your copy of Mysterious Phonk in between Garlands and In The Flat Field. “Mystical Maze” is such a nightmare, full of scary sounds and even a real standout goth-y line, “the world is a house with a yard full of snakes.” He did “The Black God” and a whole bunch of classics from Mysterious Phonk, his 4AD debut mixtape, like “Don’t Give A Damn,” “Been Fweago” and “Get Ya Head Bust.” His delivery was impressive and the whole effect of his set was really awesome. And of course, he did the excellent ode to Three 6 Mafia, “Suck A Nigga Dick,” which has a killer hook to it. And this is hip hop from a gothic prism.