Pepperboy is a unique presence in Little Rock rap, a local street rapper from the city’s south side who fell headlong into Lil B‘s weirdo-visionary orbit and resurfaced a changed man. The Southern outlier in the Bay Area-based Green Ova Underground, and one of the few really enduring personalities of the cloud rap moment, Pepperboy dependably and effortlessly brings to his projects what so many local rappers struggle with—a distinct voice.
Really distinct. Like, difficult to describe. There are hints of the quiet, moody Devin the Dude of songs like “Anythang,” but the effect is different. Like his colleagues in Main Attrakionz, there’s a New Age ocean-of-sound vibe to his music that can be immersive and sort of glorious or else tongue-in-cheek hilarious, depending on how he plays it at any given moment. On “3 Volleys,” his new tape, he plays it pretty straight.
“I’m not talking to you,” he says on “America Me.” “I only talk to the beat.” It’s an insular record, lonesome and haunted by issues ranging from his own, past incarceration to “World War III,” references to which are scattered throughout. It’s sounds like he’s been spending a fair amount of his time watching CNN, stoned and terrified. “Psycho” has shout outs to the Boston Marathon Bombing victims, and a hook that wouldn’t be out of place on a Hypnotize Minds cassette. The album (the title of which is possibly a reference to military funeral protocol) is also broken up by abstract ambient interludes, sound collages of TV dialogue snippets and spaced-out, aimless production.
“Us Against Them,” the first single (originally released in December), features a guest verse from Miami avant-rap crew Metro Zu, and the tape also features production by high profile Tumblr-rap veterans (and Lil B associates) Keyboard Kid and Beautiful Lou. Download here or stream at Bandcamp.