There is a misconception among many
white people people that if you are black and into music, you are a rapper. And there are many black musicians who have fought back against these stereotypes: Bad Brains, Bodycount, Skindred, Cipher…hell the whole Afropunk movement is based on this fight.
And then there are those who join the fight completely by accident.
Enter El Pus. Part thug. Part rock. All hardcore. With a sense of humor about the whole situation. Originally, the group of five (band memebers Cufi, Cosmo, CJ aka Johnny Rock, Young Pete and The Woodchuck) was supposed to record a hip hop album with Speech of Arrested Development. The night before they were supposed to record, someone broke into their Atlanta studio and stole their sampler, but left the guitar, bass and drums untouched. Not wanting to waste the studio time, the guys decided to use what they had.
The result is Hoodlum Rock: Vol. 1 (released by Virgin Records), an eclectic mix of punk/hardcore, hip hop and even some crunk styles thrown in for good measure.
The songs range from chilled out ska influenced jams to hardcore thrashers. And the subject matter of many of the songs is pretty much the same: women, sex, partying and “smokin' cheeba”. Yet the album has its political moments too. The song “Days of the BKs (I Remember)” talks about growing up in the hood, not having much, but still having fond memories of what some might refer to as the “carefree good ole days”. “Slot Machine” talks about the appeal of making fast cash in a not so legal way. But it's on their single that the band really makes a statement.
On the track “Suburb Thuggin”, El Pus basically rips a new one to all those suburbanites who like think they're thugalicious.
“Snot nosed f****t in your black bandana/Man you really think you're tough to def/Talking to your girl, Nokia in your righ hand/Steering momma's Benz with the left/You ain't really never seen no gangsta shit/Cause if you did you would piss on yourself/Bumpin too much Tupac, thinking you're a rider/In reality you're playin yourself”
The video, while very tongue-in-cheek, is also critical of the whole “white boy gangsta” epidemic that has been occurring for the past few years. In the video, the band is playing at a party filled with suburb thugs who all look surprised to see five black guys playing punk music.
Now after having just finished a US coast to coast tour with the band Reel Big Fish, El Pus is making their way to Europe. They've been getting press on MTV, MTV2, VH1 and Nickelodeon's new teen programming selection “The N”.
This is possibly one of the best albums I've heard all summer. Y'all should go and check it out. These guys are definitely on to something.
A list of places where you can buy El Pus' Hoodlum Rock: Vol. 1 can be found here.