26.01.2012, Words by Anthony Walker

The strange, soggy sonic fictions of SpaceGhostPurrp

It is important to note that fascinating rapper and producer SpaceGhostPurrp takes his name from and heavily references the cult 90s cartoon ‘Spaceghost Coast to Coast’. Like the show, SGP combines the old and new with self-conscious awareness, hallucinogenic vividity, finding strange but satisfying comfort in disjointedness.

SpaceGhostPurrp first came to widespread attention through his productions for A$AP Rocky but recently the young Floridian has been winning hearts with his singular sound and vision. Coming out of Carol City, Miami, SpaceGhostPurrp oftens takes the hard bump of old school Miami bass but notches up the dread to create dense, sludgy beats suited to his menacing raps. His sound also has affinities with Clams Casino’s atmospheric, reverb-heavy based beats but his often function more like live organisms with strange samples and background noises sprouting unexpectedly in the mix. A track like PHEEL THA PHONK 1990 features odd Mortal Kombat sound-bites (a favourite weapon for the producer) that throw the listener off and Pretty Flacko, the song he made for the aforementioned A$AP Rocky, similarly layers beep upon bleep to create a unique sonic texture.

SGP is also a part of the Raider Klan, the crew inverting their ‘a’s and turning ‘e’s to ‘x’s in the pursuit of a sound that is the most spaced out but simultaneously the earthiest and most hardcore. Ruben Slikk and Denzel Curry feature on RVIDXR KLVN PHONK and help turn a tried and tested rap theme and format into something surprising and unsettling.

The crew’s approach to the past is also notable and, at its best, often goes further than simply aping or adapting old tropes. As a genre hip-hop is young but incredibly diverse and SpaceGhostPurrp, like a lot of the current wave of rappers, is acutely aware of the rich history that lies behind him. A song like 90’s Nigga Snapback (R.I.P Easy E) is a clear homage but SGP inhibits old styles like no other and is a real connoisseur – going as far as naming tracks according to specific years. Despite plenty of head nods to the likes of Three 6 Mafia, the Wu-Tang Clan and DJ Screw Spaceghost Purrp never really looks up in reverence but focuses intently on the styles and tears them from the inside out.

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