Max Bell found the plug in Honolulu
Ignore the Bubble Yum pink hair. Ignore the streetwear meets runway Goth garb. Ignore the fact that the song below is called “HumbleBoys2015.” Vito rips through raw raps like a bullmastiff with a bloody T-bone. This is ‘90s N.Y. revivalism sans irony, feigned third-eye introspection, or paint-by-numbers plagiarism. Akinyele allusions are tempered by references to Phil Spector and dyed Wallabees. Vito’s voice and delivery pack aggression without descending into the grating scream-rap of NPR’s favorite butterfly. The beat sounds like it was stitched together by someone who holds Premier in the highest esteem.
Lyrically conscious rappers have long been traded for the fashion conscious. The backpacks are more expensive and less conducive to carrying vinyl. Whether we’re better off depends on how you feel about “Derelicte” and Tumblr. Still, we’re fortunate to have the Internet. All this is to say that Vito, who seems torn between the art of one era and the aesthetics of another, hails from San Bernardino, CA. I’ve only visited the city to attend Rock the Bells, so take it with a grain of desert sand when I say that he’s probably one of the best out there. His mixtape MK Ultra is uneven and probably a first project, but there are features from WC and Bizzy Bone. Don’t disregard all of it.