Captain Murphy, Pac Div

The Airliner


Earlier this week, a local mystery rapper calling himself Captain Murphy announced that he'd be performing at Low End Theory last night.

See also: More Low End Theory Oral History From Those Who Helped Build It

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 …

… Flying Lotus. Cue mass eruption. So much so that Nocando shouted yet again, “We don't want to end up on the news. CONTROL YOURSELVES.”

Pac Div; Credit: Rebecca Haithcoat

Pac Div; Credit: Rebecca Haithcoat

The warning wasn't necessary, because the crowd thinned after FlyLo left. Shame, because they missed Pac Div, the trouble-beset trio who just released their new album, GMB. We'll give Flying Lotus a little bit of a break since it was his first time performing as a rapper, but Pac Div put on such a polished, party-starting performance, my friend turned and said, “I wish they had come on earlier.”

See also: The Rise and Stall of Pac Div

Personal bias: I'd rather dance than bob my head.

The crowd: Regulars, but also, as Nocando said, plenty of “looky-loos.”

Random notebook dump: Two tall freaky-fashionista types were being followed and filmed dancing, and then they got the bouncer to pretend to throw somebody out. Anyone know what that was all about?

See also: How Flying Lotus Got Thom Yorke to Play Low End Theory

Follow us on Twitter @LAWeeklyMusic, Rebecca Haithcoat @rhaithcoat, and like us at LAWeeklyMusic.

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