Two months ago, Miami rapper and producer Spaceghostpurrp's YouTube channel registered a few hundred views. But one dip into the then-nineteen-year-old's world of viscous sound waves had us hooked: It sounds as though he's sunk a creaky, abandoned arcade into a sea of thickened cough syrup. Yet just as easily, he rockets you out of that ominous oblivion with the kind of ricocheting bass lines born only in the South.
We were so excited we had to write about him. We weren't alone--in early April, Odd Future's Syd tha Kyd began playing his music before their shows, and now his name is all over your Twitter timeline. We called him and got this interview:
LA WEEKLY: Your rise has been crazy. The rapper Speak played you for me, I had to find you immediately, and within a few weeks, everybody was talking about you all the time.
SPACEGHOSTPURRP: Yeah. I think after your LA Weekly shit, people were curious. Like, "Who the fuck is this n*gga?"
Even though I wrote that post on March 29th, it's still getting hits--a lot of hits--almost two months later.
That's crazy, man. We gotta fuck it up when I get out there. Spaceghostpurrp is gonna search all these ancient lost places for these sounds that people never discovered, and he's gonna play them to hypnotize you. Get high, and listen to my shit. When you do that, I got you.
The optimum listening condition for Spaceghostpurrp's music is being high?
When you're sober, you're gonna like it. But when you're high--you know how when you watch a 3-D movie without the glasses? You put on the glasses, and what happens? It's like you're in the movie. When you're high, it's like, "I don't know who this n*gga is but I feel like he's rapping in my face right now, and it's tripping me out." Even when I blow, and listen to my shit, I think, "I don't even remember making this shit! Is this me?"
This is gonna sound like a conspiracy theory, but after your YouTube videos were deleted, and then your Twitter page got deleted, I had this feeling that maybe you were this secret industry creation, not a real person.
Whaaaaat? (laughs) Naw, I'm just independent. You know how we do it in the South.
I treat my songs like clothes. I match all my clothes. So my beats gotta match my lyrics, and the way I rap gotta match the beat. That's why I sound different on every song. It's kinda throwing people off, like "Is this the same person?" But yes, it is me.
I put 666 [in the title of hist latest, Blackland Radio 66.6] not because Odd Future put 666, but because it's the mark of the beast. How many heads did the beast have? More than one. I am the mark of the beast. I have more than one head style. So it's deeper than rap. Rap is just the music.
I got my ear for music from my father, and I get my lyrical skills from my mother. She's from the '80s, she came up in the MC Lyte era.
When I was 13, I just started practicing on my bass lines, because I used to play the drums when I was in second grade. I knew about bass patterns, and the snares, and from there, my dad was on top of me when I was making music, saying, "Your bass lines are crazy, your snares are popping, but you gotta have that sound that when a bitch hear that shit, they gonna be about to die." And so every night, I'd stay up till 2 or 3 in the morning just finding crazy shit. 'Cause without bass, you ain't got shit. As long as you got that bass, that right sound, and the right flow, and then you switch it up on 'em, people are gonna be like, "Damn."
This Raider Clan shit is about to get serious. On some Michael Jackson shit, like how he took over the world.
Tell me about Raider Clan.
Raider Clan is a clan of skaters, hipsters, misunderstood kids who are considered weird to kids known as hypebeasts. A hypebeast is a kid who--put it like this: You know how you go to the hood, and the n*ggas in the hood gotta have their Air Force 1's, their dreads, their gold. They gotta look like somebody else instead of being themselves. Raider Clan is a clan of people who've had their hearts broken--been lied to, cheated on taken advantage of--and they were like, fuck this shit, I can't take it anymore. The only people I'm gonna be loyal to are the people who've been there for me. Everybody else gets the cold shoulder. The black heart is what Raiders have. That's why we wear black. You show people your weakness, and they're gonna turn around and give you they ass to kiss. Our black shades represent the blindness--I don't see them. The Raider hat is just to let a bitch know. Our uniform. We wear all black to represent our hearts.
So what broke your heart?
Well, I'm from Miami. This shit is ... you ever been here before? People who haven't grown up in Miami, they're lucky. Miami is fucked up. If you wanna know who Satan really is, come live down here. Satan is in everybody down here. Satan ruined this shit; this is his playground. Everybody on yayo. Nobody wanna be shit here. They say they wanna do it, but they're not DOING shit. They wanna sit here and humiliate others, kill each other for no reason. The girls here are stuck up, rude, think they're the shit. The dudes here are confused, lost souls, weak minded, easily influenced, disloyal. You can't trust anybody here.
Is it because there's such a focus on the superficial in Miami?
It's wack. People think they're too cool. They don't take shit serious. The only n*gga doin' shit down here is Rick Ross. We all know that. We all know Rick Ross is not a drug dealer, but he's still making good music, so we don't give a fuck. We all know Brisco is a fake. We all know there's no way in hell Trick Daddy's coming back soon. JT Money, he's all right now, he's chillin'. Trina, she's washed up. What is she trying to do that's different? If she ain't fucking with me, she needs to go sit down. I've seen her so many times in the studio, and she doesn't wanna do anything. She'll know my name when she sees me on TV.
What's the reception of your music down there?
Some know about my shit, but some don't, because remember, it first got played in L.A. So it's just now hitting the east coast.
When did it first get played out here?
I think it was last year when I released that Nasa shit. I hated Nasa, but I support myself so much--I did Nasa at the last minute. There was a deadline at my studio; I only had three days to do it. So I had one week to write the whole ten songs, and three days to record it. So I rushed through that shit. But people still felt it, and I was like, ok, wait 'till they get to see what I really am.
How did you meet Kreayshawn?
We've been friends for three years. Of course we met through Twitter. I started following her, and she followed me back, and I was like, oh, shit! That's for real. Next thing you know, Lil B stopped fucking with her after that Nico shit, 'cause she didn't have some fight with Nico. I was like, what the fuck? Kreayshawn ain't even stand 5 feet.
Anyway, we could've had this Based tour--me, Kreayshawn, Lil B, Odd Future--that's money, you feel me?
I'm just speaking how I feel. I don't got a problem with Lil B--I don't know him. I fuck with his music. Like last year, on that Based shit. But all this I'm Gay Volume 3? I don't fuck with that shit; he can have that. Telling Kanye he gonna fuck him in the ass?
Lil B, I don't know him, people need to stop comparing me to him even though I fuck with the Based movement. People compare me to Tyler too! But what the fuck?
Tyler's music is heavier, more grounded. You have the perfect moniker. The influence of lean is unmistakable--spacey, weird, that deranged cartoon aspect. Yours is extraterrestrial, with more bounce, of course, being from the South--
You know Syd played "Suck a Dick" at a show of theirs I saw.
I saw the video of that show, and was like, shit, they swagged me out!
But again, your personalities, at least on Twitter, are really opposite--you reply to everybody, you retweet all your fans. You are a part of your people.
That's how all Aries are. We don't give a fuck; we love music. We put our awareness in our music. And without the fans you ain't shit. I fuck with Odd Future because that's how I'd be if I had a group of friends, but I don't hang with people like that. I keep my circle tight. But their shit is dope as fuck.
What happened with your Twitter?
My stupid ass kept giving my email out to fans so they could give me beats, and my Twitter is linked to that email.
So this is when being a man of the people goes wrong?
I think it was a hater, I don't know. But I still came back and released Blackland. It was on Top 8 (on Dat Piff) for two days straight. My first official album hasn't even come out yet; I might put it out this summer. Nobody's heard my music yet--they've heard my rap songs.
Gotta ask you about Taylor Gang.
Awww, "Fuck Taylor Gang"? I used to fuck with Wiz Khalifa when How Fly came out, but I made my song to open the eyes of the youth--be yourself, fuck Taylor Gang, you're not him! Be yourself. You're not Wiz Khalifa. Ok? Stop wearing Chuck Taylors, dyeing your hair, smoking weed just because Wiz Khalifa is smoking weed.
Who are the hottest rappers out right now? Wiz and Tyler. Now, in my eyes, they are targets. Lyrically, I will run circles around Wiz. Tyler is creative but he doesn't have the problem I have.
The problem I have is that I'm my own target. I'm too busy trying to keep up with myself. I became an atheist back in 9th grade. I consider myself my own deity. I believe in myself. Now my mind, it's like I've got 12 brains when it comes to music.
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But the difference is, I don't have what they have. They have opportunities to make albums and mixtapes. I don't stay in the hood anymore, but I don't have money like that. I don't have a studio in my house. Their opportunities are better than mine. But Tyler's rapping like a monster, with the crazy strings and piano sounds--that shit is dope. Tyler is the shit, and he knows it.
But when it comes to competition with an Aries, there is no competition. We are gods of war. When my album comes out, motherfuckers might mentally die after they listen to my shit. The music I'm gonna make is gonna be so fucking crazy--I made a song called "Get Yah Head Bust." It's like that, but crazier. I didn't want to make too much shit like that, 'cause people might've started a riot.
I'm not worried about anybody. I'm still gonna support them. But I'm gonna fuck your head up with my legs, confuse your brain cells and twist them.
Follow Rebecca Haithcoat on Twitter.