The Oakland Raiders seem like the embodiment of how to symbolize a hip-hop collective. In the NFL, they're an organization known for their foul mouths and dirty style of play, alongside their fiendishly tattooed and pierced die-hards adorned in spikes, chains, skeletons, and distorted face paint. It's black metal glam circa Mad Max. Though it's unlikely you'll see SpaceGhostPurrp repping such flamboyance down the streets of Oakland, the heart of darkness black flooded throughout the Raider icon is enough to represent the rebellious, street-wise attitude SpaceGhostPurrp attributes to the "Raider Klan" and his music. He is a man who sees the world through a filter of blackness.
Open up his notebook, and face value renders the man a vile talking, shady character full of bombast ("Similar to Darth Vader, because I'm the God of Black") and contradicktory love-hate lyricism ("Fuck around with Florida, come for you and your bitch, but I still got love, for the world and the youth"). Though when he spits out things like, "Why you tryna' be gangsta? I know you a pranksta, just chill like me and grab a bitch and spank her," there's a wicked charm to his honesty, even if it is jaded. He's no role model, and doesn't claim to be, but this black-and-white mentality throughout Chronicles is when SpaceGhostPurrp really exposes himself as rap artist devoid of tricks and gimmicks to convince his audience he's something he's not.
The allure behind SpaceGhostPurrp's presence as an artist is how he handles production, with a clear desire and embrace of past. Opener "Mystikal Maze" nods to early 90s Three 6 Mafia, as a hazy cloud of smoke buzzes in sympathy of a throwed jam for strolls down neon strips. People often mistake this atmospheric production as part of the emerging "cloud rap" scene, but SpaceGhostPurrp has always been an awkward contemporary amongst the sentimentally charged Lil B and Clams Casino. SpaceGhost paints a much bleaker picture, heard best on the rebooted "Suck A Dick 2012", as it's been castrated of all hints of innocence with a dark-matter drone slowly grating against distant porn samples in revolt of cynics and skeptics.
The production throughout Chronicles leans to old video games and Memphis tape fuzz, and in some respects to lo-fi vanguards such as James Ferraro and Hype Williams. The video game themes were obvious on last year's Blvcklvnd Rvdix 66.6, scattering Mortal Kombat samples throughout his mixes. It's subtle here, but the rain forest instrumentation scattered throughout "Get Yah Head Bust" evokes images of Tomb Raider and Turok, planting in a grey and damped atmosphere. The lo-fi quality heard throughout the hushed rhymes of "No Evidence", met with organic chimes and other sterile noises that sound filtered through a cassette tape. Not every song works as well, the grating "Grind On Me" and "Paranoid" lack a convincing hook, and after a while the album itself can feel a little repetitive after almost an hour run time, but most of the album does work as a long, dazed trip of hallucinated narrative.
It's in the definition of "Raider" that Chronicles can be truly analyzed: a thief, intruder, and aggressor. Thief as an artist taking already present ideas from his past albums (about half the songs here) and past eras, and morphing them into something new, relevant, and interesting. Intruder as someone challenging the context of rap music, through his unique peripheral eye for production. And aggressor, as an artist fighting to stay creative and on the top of his game. The Chronicles of SpaceGhostPurrp succeeds on these levels, documenting the head space of a horny emcee with a fetish for the past ready to duct tape haters and prove he's worthy of the loot. A real raider in search of X marking the spot.
[Buy The Chronicles of Spaceghostpurrp from 4AD Records]