Rhymes galore over raw beats with The Koreatown Oddity.
The most superstitious amongst you out there won't have missed that last week was Friday the 13th, but not only bad things tend to happen on that day. Proof for that is Finna Be Past Tense, The Koreatown Oddity's first album that dropped on Stones Throw Records last Friday. The first video of the record was for the song 'Fuck Dinosaurs'.
The artist behind the $70 wolf mask he bought during high school is Dominique Purdy. As his stage name implies, the rapper-producer was born and raised in Koreatown, a neighborhood in central L.A. Before turning to rap, he was pursuing a career in stand-up. However, he decided to drop the stand-up act and jumped into the rap game producing his own beats and releasing mixtapes on cassettes the first of which dropped in 2012. The Koreatown Oddity released Pops 45s which consisted of cuts and bars chopped together from a stack of his father's 45s. The cassette was recorded live to tape in one take. In 2013, he then released the first mixtape where he was rapping over some raw beats which will soon become his trademark. Since then, he released another full-length and seven cassettes including collaborations with Ras G for 5 Chuckles and with MNDSGN as Vivians.
Finna Be Past Tense is a 12 track record lasting almost 33 minutes and for this joint The Koreatown Oddity joined forces with Vex Ruffin, a fellow artist from the Stones Throw roster, who produced the material. So far so good, but the audacity behind the whole project only comes to light if you have a slight idea of who Vex Ruffin is. As per his Stones Throw bio, he is an untrained punk musician who uses basic instruments in uncomplicated ways and makes music he likes to call 'minimalist'. However, and it might not be discernible right away, Vex's music is rooted in sampling and the hip-hop beat-making culture, which turns out to be a perfect fit. Vex and Purdy seem to complement each other outstandingly and they made a superb album together reminiscent of Tyler, The Creator and the Odd Future collective in their prime. Finna Be Past Tense is however not only musically refreshing, but Purdy also pulls through lyrically speaking. Loosely about Purdys' considerations on life, death and the ever passing time as he is getting older, the record also deals with the creativity involved in the process of recording an album and that it is a constant challenge to make ones work progress. He puts a lot of consideration in how he wants to share ideas or thoughts.
Experimental hip-hop is really what Finna Be Past Tense is all about. The Koreatown Oddity even goes as far as mixing his actual project to his past in stand-up with impromptu performances such as the ones shown on Stone Throw's Facebook live feed a couple of days before the album release. Both performances can be rewatched here and here. Vex and Purdy actually met after one of the latter's public stunts.
And as you can see in his latest video, the artist does not shy away from leaving the beaten path and has no problem with trading his wolf mask for a blindfold with the word “faith” written across it.