Last week, Brainfeeder’s resident enigma, Captain Murphy, released his debut mixtape, Duality, and it’s fantastic. Let’s get that out of the way. Whoever is behind the moniker (whether it be Flying Lotus, one of those Odd Future hoodlums or someone entirely different) just crafted Until the Quiet Comes with rapping. It’s a project so eccentric, off-beat and heady it’s the equivalent of watching a psychedelics-tripping mastodon amble along a tight rope.
It’s good and required listening, especially when producers as varied as Just Blaze, Madlib, FlyLo, Clams Casino (maybe?) and TNGHT contributed. Now that that’s been said, what about the title? Rather ballsy statement, right?
Not quite. Think about some of the projects that have come from–or been inspired by–the Southland this year: Frank Ocean’s channel ORANGE, Kendrick Lamar’s Good Kid, m.A.A.d. City and Flying Lotus’ Until the Quiet Comes. That’s quite an impressive list, which speaks volumes about a new identity that’s currently shaping SoCal urban music.
Think about it: Frank’s cranking out airy, ambiguous ballads about Los Angeles’ gilded facade (“Super Rich Kids” and “Pyramids”); Kendrick just created Compton’s defining triptych without G-funk; and Until the Quiet Comes and Duality redefined the region’s underground beat-making aesthetic. And that’s not counting a host of other smaller projects from Schoolboy Q, Ab-Soul and Domo Genesis.
It harkens back to our list about “The Ten Rappers Who Will Bring NYC Back” and how New York hasn’t really gathered its shit. To be fair, New York has plenty of artists whom Hip-Hop fans should listen to; however, those artists haven’t coalesced around an idea about what music from its region should sound like–should feel like, even. While it’s hard to link every one of the aforementioned Southern Californian albums together, listeners can grok that each artist–in tandem with his work–have caught onto and envisioned some sect of Los Angeles that New York hasn’t.
And this is important. With music globalizing, eras and epochs in certain regions begin to muddle. That’s why you’ll hear Houston in A$AP Rocky’s flow or trap rap in Chicago. That’s not a bad thing. It’s inevitable. But nowadays it’s hard to really cement a new, regional sound. That’s why it’s refreshing to see guys capture a colloquial idea and refine it–or completely recreate it–to suit their vision of their city.
Flying Lotus’ (and, probably, Captain Murphy’s) can be filtered through a Californian’s drug experience: “Being from California, I think it’s something that Californians embrace a lot more, like, ‘trip out, man.’ Whatever it is, acid, mushrooms, DMT.” Luckily for listeners, it actually happened at all.