The Essence of Shmoplife

Evan Nabavian breaks down Shmoplife, the Bay Area movement your hedonistic tendencies deserve.
By    April 12, 2016


Evan Nabavian knows ghost riding is the most effective method of transportation.

Unlike so many other rap “movements,” Shmoplife isn’t so much a flag to raise as it is an ethos for the twenty first century man, a utopian creed like flower power, PLUR, or democratic socialism except without the delusional bullshit. Kool John defines Shmoplife as “living every day like a Saturday night,” but this, I think, is a gross oversimplification meant for the plebs. Richmond, CA’s HBK Gang seem to have achieved a state of consciousness that entitles them to Robb Report income, premium weed, and the affections of your bitch. Shmoplife, as Bay Area rappers tell it, is nirvana meets Roman orgy. I’m pretty sure it’s what Confucius was getting at.

Shmoplife is the brainchild of Kool John, but Ooty Ooo is its living manifestation. I’d imagine Ooty resembles the Shmoplife logo, a smiley face wearing sunglasses, had his sole video not depicted otherwise. That’s the video for Ooty’s single “Ooty Ooo.” (You don’t call yourself Ooty Ooo if you’re not going to own that shit.) On his debut mixtape, Shmoplife Made , he introduces himself as a Bay Area playboy and the locus of every party reaching Shmoplife strata.

His songs are heavy on third person boasts and light on identifiers and demarcations that would make the lifestyle less universal. His guests often rap better than him on a technical level but he shines on all of them, coasting on confidence, a distinct voice, and HBK’s unhurried claps-and-808s beats. The title track and its remix are signature bangers featuring the scene’s best. Shmoplife is a regional motif worth exploring—if you can find it within yourself.

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