Review Summary: Purple drank, Satan, and Three 6 Mafia combine their forces to make one damn good mixtape
Listening to Blvcklvnd Rvdix 66.6, the latest release from Miami's Spaceghostpurrp, is like entering a time portal to an alternate universe, a dark reality dominated by mock Satanism, Three 6 Mafia
, and nostalgic 90's cartoons. It's pretty easy to get lost in it - you put on one song and before you know it an hour has passed and you've been methodically bobbing your head along to the syrup-drenched beats. It's hard to imagine this isn't the young rapper-producer's intention.
Atmosphere is his biggest asset. His production is deeply immersive. Its most salient musical analogues are Three 6 Mafia
's Mystic Stylez and the screwed and chopped offerings of DJ Screw, and it's clear that Spaceghostpurrp
has a fondness for 90's rap (indeed, he affixes a (1991) to the end of the mixtape's name on Datpiff, and the cover comes with the accolade "DOPEST ALBUM IN 1991"). He even samples the beat from the classic Triple Six single Late Night Tip
on the cut Tha Phonk
, and the ominous keyboards on "Underground" measure up to the best DJ Paul or Juicy J ever sampled in their heyday, and screws and chops his vocals on many of the tracks. He intersperses atypical samples in his sounds, from the familiar "finish him" and "flawless victory" of Mortal Kombat fame to random shrieks and screams to those odious talking smileys from pop-up internet ads. Songs start and stop in medias res, with a disjarring effect; he even alters the volume levels from track to track, even within the same track. It all serves to ground the album firmly in the 90's culture that Spaceghostpurrp seemingly so idolizes. However, he manages to do all this with a fresh spirit. Perhaps it is the amalgamation of different ideas, but not once does the listener feel like he would be better suited skipping the middleman and listening to the rappers who influence Spaceghostpurrp.
The rapping, while certainly up to and sometimes well above par, isn't the album's selling point. Despite the horrific atmosphere, Spaceghostpurrp never really delves into the horror movie lyrics made famous by early Three Six or his contemporary peers in Odd Future, rather employing the standard tales of braggadocio and swagger talk. You can certainly see the influence of fellow Floridians 2 Live Crew in his graphic tales of sex. His flow is certainly competent, and I don't doubt that if he had different influences or intentions, he could speed-rap with the best of them. Indeed, his rapping has improved noticeably since his last mixtape, NASA, so his lyrical progress will be a thing to look out for in coming albums. However, it remains to be enforced that he simply doesn't care about wowing you with any lyrical couplets or Twista-style speed-rhyming. Indeed, the vocals are actually subdued in the mix, working more as an instrument in league with the beat than as a separate presence demanding imminent attention. This again adds to the immersive nature of the album. When he employs guest rappers, the most prominent and best of whom are the Bay Area's Main Attrakionz, they work in the same way, never shining above but always remaining thoroughly interesting.
The album seems shorter than its 22 tracks, and could probably stand to lose a few. His allegiance to old rap notwithstanding, Spaceghostpurrp is a part of the modern indie internet rap scene, where prolific output is rewarded and celebrated. And while, to its credit, the album never particularly gets boring, there are few noticeable highlights - it is best taken as a whole. That said, the thick cohesive mix is at its best in the aforementioned Underground, *** Taylor Gang (which Spaceghostpurrp has explained as not a diss on Wiz Khalifa's group per se, but rather an exhortation for people to follow their own style), and Stoner Gang, where the aggressive beat brings to mind a simpler, deconstructed variant of Lex Luger's better material.
In short, while it's not a groundbreaking foray into uncharted territories of hip hop, it's still a very solid, cohesive album worthy of the attention of any rap fan.