Sixty-Five years ago, famed California chronicler Carey McWilliams described Angeleno existence as a “ringside seat at the circus.” So it’s little surprise that its music is typically branded weird by those outside the area, and perfectly fitting for those with zip codes that start with a “90.”
Thankfully, weird rap is in vogue, so an artist like Serengeti is finally receiving the attention he’s deserved for much of the last decade. Obviously, songs about down and out UFC fighters will never get burn on Power 106, but one would think that Raymond Carver-loving rap writers would at least give him as much attention as Riff Raff. Not quite. His latest, Family & Friends has restored a modicum of my faith in the system, with excellent reviews from Alfred Soto at the Quietus, and a rave from Bob Xgau on NPR. In particular, Soto pegs ‘Geti as the second coming of a Mellow Gold-era Beck, which is more accurate than any rap analogue.
At the risk of lumping in two obviously vastly different artists who also call Los Angeles home, I’m taking the opportunity to post the latest left-field videos from Busdriver and BEeFF. The longtime Blowedian opts to cover Animal Collective’s “Leaf House,” while BEeFF one-up the esoteric quotient and decide to make a pizza-heavy parody of “Grove Street Party.” Plus, “To Whom it May Concern,” which I imagine has something to do with Planet of the Apes, but I’m not sure. It’s so out there it makes Lil B look like Bob Hope, but it is never less than entertaining. Best enjoyed with three rings of smoke.