SpaceGhostPurrp may be the least marketable rapper in recent memory. To start, he uses a system of writing song and album titles that replaces various vowels and often whole words with the letter “v” or “x”. It may look cool, but its makes it very hard to read and remember the songs you like. His beats are repetitive, droning pieces filled with low quality sound effects ripped from movies and videogames. His rapping is simplistic and as repetitive as his beats. He speaks in a low, gruff voice in threatening tones. He has two separate songs that repeatedly use the line “suck a n__ga dick!” His music is all texture and mood in an industry that increasingly values quick development and catchy hooks.
Despite all of this, Purrp has had success in the blog world during the past two years with mixtapes like The NASA Tape and Blvcklvnd Rvdix 66.6. A renewed interest in horrorcore fueled by the rise of Odd Future and an uncanny resemblance to Triple 6 Mafia gained Purrp more attention than his tapes seemed to deserve. The few songs filled with enough interesting texture to warrant attention were few and far between. Listening to one of the mixtapes as a whole was a largely homogenous experience, leaving the listener with nothing more than a general aura of mystery. It was the type of music only an obsessive hip-hop blogger could love.
Mysterious Phonk is made to change that. While most of its tracks have already been released in some form, they have been picked with diversity in mind. The sound quality is high and each song is relatively distinct from the next. On the new tracks, Purrp is clearly attempting to improve his technique, using more complex rhymes and a clearer delivery.
This, however, only works to a certain extent. Clarity is not the issue. Higher audio quality simply manages to highlight how sparse and similarly constructed the tracks really are. While Purrp has a talent for creating music with his own distinctive, if derivative, sound, he has yet to do anything more. Mysterious Phonk is based on the idea that Purrp’s past songs are worthy of repeating to a wider audience. Music with ambient qualities tends to be immersive, allowing the listener to sink deep into the sound for extend periods of time. Much of Purrp’s beats simply aren’t thick enough to maintain interest. His rapping only adds to the monotony. While much of Phonk aims to distinguish songs through clearer, more complex lyrics, what is really needed is a thicker, more interesting sound.
“The Black God” is one of the few examples of Purrp’s seemingly unrealized capacities. While his other tracks tend to drag, “God” moves with the urgency of his Memphis influences. His lyrics, rather than focusing on bland obscene scenarios, develop him as a mythic diety, painting a picture of mysterious power. “My mind on the secret master plan,” he muses. The lines are delivered in his trademark monotone, but it’s clear that he intends them to be memorable, rather than textural or redundant. The track is much more effective at developing the dark, obscure mood he intends than any other track on the album. It does so through progression and energy. Hopefully, this new song is a sign of more interesting developments to come.