On a balmy May morning inside a posh Encino house, rapper James Dunn (who goes by Killa F Supernigga) and his partner, Anthony Brown (aka EZ the Great), are mugging for the camera. They're members of the Finatticz, a rap group who hail from the east side of South Central and are currently in the process of blowing the fuck up. The mid-twentysomethings are filming the video for the group's infectious, near-ubiquitous single "Don't Drop That Thun Thun," but there's a problem.
"Do you have any eye drops, Killa?" asks Marleny Dominguez, a rep from their label, eOne Music. "You look high as shit!" Indeed, the smell of pot emanates from him, and he falls back onto the couch with a laugh. The phrases "I Love Me" and "I'm Single" are tattooed above his eyebrows, drawing attention to just how crimson his eyes are.
The breakout hit plays in the background: Nursery rhyme-simple, it's little more than a rubbery bass line, electronic cymbal crashes and a vocal hook, "Don't drop that thun thun thun," repeated ad infinitum. It has burrowed into the ears of radio listeners all over the Southland, and programmers have taken notice. Power 106 DJ Carisma picked up on it early, and it's now up to 40 spins per week, putting it among the station's most-played tracks. "The song is very catchy," notes the station's DJ E-Man over the phone, understating things significantly.
"Don't Drop That Thun Thun" was recorded three years ago, and it began building organically. "I remember we recorded it during the day, and that night we played it for a huge party at my girl O Titty's house," EZ recalls. "Everyone told us to turn it up!"
A remix featuring Tyga dropped in February. Soon after, Compton-based producer Payso B -- who made the song's beat -- played it for his friend, singer and sex-tape star Ray J, who brought the track to the attention of eOne president Alan Grunblatt. The label proceeded to sign the crew to a single deal, with an album option.
"These guys are about to go to the next level," declares Ray J, who's hanging out today on the video set. "For us to be part of something big like this is a blessing from God."
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Unfortunately, two Finatticz couldn't be here: Tyrone Revis (aka Jayarah), who's in prison due to an ecstasy-possession conviction, and Darrel Beason Jr. (aka Nyce), who's at his day job. The group originally coalesced around Jayarah and EZ, who knew each other from the krumping scene at Alexander Fleming Middle School in Lomita. Killa met them after a performance in Hollywood in 2008, and he brought into the fold Nyce, a previous collaborator.
The foursome rep a movement called ratchet, which sprang out of Louisiana and emphasizes partying, dancing and personal freedom. Killa claims to have used his own late-aughts incarceration -- he was convicted of being an accessory after the fact to murder and attempted murder -- as motivation to better himself. "While I was in jail, I was rapping and writing a lot and preaching."
EZ walks over to join Killa on the couch, and the former takes off his hat to reveal "Finatticz" shaved into the side of his scalp. "You know, we recorded this song in 15 minutes," he says. "This is the song everyone was singing at parties. I knew it could be the hit."