Earlier this week, a local mystery rapper calling himself Captain Murphy announced that he'd be performing at Low End Theory last night.
People got excited about it, so much so that at the Airliner, where the weekly beat-geek party is held, the line down Broadway started forming around 6 pm, hours before the event started.
A little backstory: In July, "Between Friends" was released, a collaboration between producer Flying Lotus and Odd Future member Earl Sweatshirt and somebody named Captain Murphy. The drop set off whispers on just who the faceless dude with the distorted vocals might be. Tyler, the Creator, who's toyed with the blogosphere before, seemed a good guess. Some inventive theorists ruminated that Murphy was Tyler, Earl and Flying Lotus rapping concurrently.
Two weeks ago, Captain Murphy put out a 35-minute-long mixtape called Duality set to vintage clips. It featured production from big names like TNGHT, Flying Lotus, Madlib, and even Just Blaze. Just who was this guy?
Outside the Airliner last night, most everyone was anxious to find out. A kid whose only ID was a birth certificate was kicked out of line at the door. Someone speculated that Murphy might sent out someone else to lip sync (a la MF Doom) in order to maintain his anonymity.
Upstairs, host Nocando was warming up the crowd. Before long a fan in the corner had been switched on and strong waves of body odor wafted by. A DJ named King Henry spun an icy, nicely cohesive set, but the heat kept building. By 11, Odd Future disciples and Low End first-timers curious about the identity of Captain Murphy were packed in so tightly Nocando announced, "We don't want to end up on the news tonight because somebody had a heat stroke or got her leg broken because y'all were shoving."
And then a man wearing a ski mask and a sequined gold cape emerged. It was Captain Murphy. The crowd surged, and listen, if you're just over five feet tall and claustrophobic, it was a ... challenging place to be. Sweat dripped and the air turned sticky. A gangly guy who kept booty bumping me, trying to pour Tecate down my throat and asking for kisses on the cheek -- Long Duk Dong from Sixteen Candles come to life -- was having fun, though.
Murphy proceeded to perform Duality, pacing back and forth, gold cape glinting. At times, it wasn't clear if he was lip syncing or rapping live. Earl Sweatshirt took the stage and everybody lost their shit.
Right before the last song, Murphy said, "Just between us," and pulled off his mask to reveal himself to be ...