In the summer of 1959, Sonny Rollins left his Lower East Side apartment, walked onto the Williamsburg Bridge, and started playing his saxophone. After releasing an astounding 21 full-length albums in the preceding six years, Rollins needed to reorient his relationship with jazz. So, almost every day for the next two years, he’d duet with the boat horns in the East River and the metal-on-wood click-clack of the subway. By unadulterated chance, renowned jazz journalist Ralph Berton came across the saxophonist during an intra-borough practice session. In a small item in Metronome, Berton, who purposefully obscured the essential facts of Rollins’ routine by calling him “Buster Jones” and saying that “Jones” practiced atop the Brooklyn Bridge, described the saxophonist’s playing as “floating to me in faint recurring fragments through the bright empty air, like footnotes to the remote desultory lowing of tugs on the river far below.”
I expect that in our smokey dystopian future, in a half-submerged Miami with a sky the color of wet concrete, some unsuspecting journalist will find Spaceghostpurrp on a lonely bridge. No tenor saxophone for him, just a polyphagic appetite for self-sabotage and an iPhone with a cracked screen. No music for the tropical floral flavors of zooming Biscayne Bay luxury automobiles, just mumbled provocations for the lapping, ashen waters below.
As the Magic City’s teen Xanax fiends have become objects of internet obsession, SGP has disappeared into a tangled web of pseudonyms and frequently-deleted Twitter and Instagram accounts. His absence created a void filled by high school sophomores. Lil Pump, Smokepurpp, $ki Mask The Slump God, and XXXTentacion owe their careers–and, in the case of Smokepurpp, his name–to the erstwhile Raider Klan czar. From behind his keyboard, SGP charted the path for an entire generation of Miamians: raps about fucking, money, and ultra-violence over narcotized beats, distributed through the internet, downloaded by anomic, atomized C-minus kiddos stoned on dirt weed and South Florida sunshine. He died so that they may live.
With AJ Suede’s “Baked Out,” Spaceghostpurrp has thrust a bony middle finger through the worms, weeds, and loam. Suede, a rapper and producer who claims East Harlem, New York and Stroudsburg, Pennsylvania, decamped to a Seattle punk house to make his forthcoming album. A couple weeks on producer Wolftone’s couch at “The Fortress” turned into five months, and from his sessions in the Northwest came Gotham Fortress, to be released September 19th on Blackhouse Records. “Baked Out,” produced by SGP, is a fine entry into the Floridian’s grimoire and fine lead single for the transitory Suede. Purrp has ice cold chimes and swirling, slurred samples; Suede has blunted raps for slimeballs who own second-hand furniture shot through with bodily fluids, takeout drippings, and charcoal smoke.