Luke Benjamin lives somewhere north of Los Angeles.
Los Angeles is stunning and tortured, and despite its many overt flaws, still home to some of the best things we do: namely, rap music. Enter 93 Bulls, a rap group formed in the spread of this degenerate megalodon, composed of rapper Cool Calm Chrys and producers Brendan Lynch Salamon and Ryan Pollie. The trio is deeply intentional, the inclusion of three members a reference to the early nineties Chicago Bulls three-peat that ended in ‘93, that last iconic team their namesake.
That an Angeleno group would be influenced by a Chicago dynasty is telling, indicative of a deep reverence for that technicolor 20th century fin de síecle, and for Michael Jordan’s unending cultural impact. This nineties nostalgia permeates into the group’s music without overwhelming it, sidestepping tedious revival by splashing HD color onto old tropes and methods.
“Denim Pockets” is one of the lead singles from a forthcoming debut—woozy, washed out slippage sloshing out of a backyard pool. The drums clang along with the cacophony sprung from an old four track Tascam, reclaimed from Chrys’ mom’s garage, the entirety sounding nearly riotous. This is paced by Chrys’ deliberate rapping, each syllable being fully worked over, dripping of the malaise that comes with too many indifferent days in oppressive heat: “I wake up every day with all the intention to go and get it, pssh, nah / I wake up every damn day hoping I can just coast through another one and shit will just be okay.”
Self-reflection and dry humor fills in the rest, like the muted pastels coloring the video—vintage tees and birthday cake next to quarter filled Tecate cans. Directed by Clara Moutone, there’s everything to love and loathe about LA: discontent and trendy cuts, swim suits and feigned friendliness. It can all seem ambiguous.
Despite this, “Denim Pockets” and 93 Bulls are unequivocally good, just left-field enough to catch your ear and sharp enough to keep it tuned. The rapping is lucid, with hints of sentimentality and zonked out psychedelia to go with monotonic realism. Altogether it’s the sort of record that will make spare moments of your 9-to-5 bearable and commutes a tinge more pleasant, ideal living music for the in-betweens.