Photo via Donald Morrison
OTM is the first rap act from California to produce a certified street anthem in 2022. The remix to their song “Cliff Hanger,” which hit more than a million views in less than three weeks, is nearly six minutes of scorched-earth bars and menacing quotables. It’s the last video Drakeo The Ruler shot before he passed and the song features one of his final recorded verses, where he presciently raps “tell God save a bed for me, coming soon,” over patient, eerie production.
Members BluePesos and Duffy are the latest Stinc Team-associated rappers to advance the nervous music narrative. OTM has released two full-length projects in the past two months, the first being their debut and the second being a tribute album titled “Long Live Drakeo,” where the pair honor their fallen hero by recording freestyles over his most iconic beats. The album is a loving send-up to the group’s biggest artistic influence and to the person who ultimately helped put them on.
“We’re gonna take it big, how he wanted us to,” Duffy said in a Downtown Los Angeles loft in February. “That Stinc mindset is to just flood the streets. That’s what we’re on. We’re gonna keep doing what Drakeo was doing.”
Both Duffy and BluePesos are effectively from the South Central section of LA, although Duffy lived in Texas until he was five. They met in middle school while dating a pair of sisters, where they quickly developed a brotherly bond despite neither relationship working out. They were in the streets – flu flamming, as they put it – until deciding to rap as a group near the end of 2019. They say they’d been inspired by the steady stream of wack rap acts coming out of California and knew they could somewhat effortlessly best the current competition if they only tried.
Like Drakeo, BluePesos retains a lackadaisical approach to rap, often sounding and looking unenthused while rattling off lines like “a very bad day, he died in his Impala,” or “you think you’re hard but you rap in Times New Roman?” It’s an elevated form of shit-talking aimed at hyper-local rap trends and it could technically be about anyone. It’s both antagonistic and playful, and If that doesn’t follow in the Drakeo tradition I don’t know what else does.
Duffy has a straight-forward rapping style that sounds similar to the bar heavy, punch-in flows perfected by rappers in Flint, Michigan like Rio Da Yung OG and RMC Mike. Duffy doesn’t just kick it with shooters, he “hangs with killers with more bodies than Astroworld.” It’s these kinds of timely references and dark humor that sets OTM apart from their peers. Almost every Duffy line is emphasized with an animated quality that adds a sneering menace to his otherwise deadpan delivery.
Off The Mussle is a rare 20-song debut without any real skips. Standouts include “Sippin Heavily”, “This Is LA,” and the Ketchy The Ruler tribute “If I Go Broke Freestyle.” OTM is clearly following in the footsteps of current Stince Team General Ralfy The Plug, who’s vowed to drop an album every month this year and has so far kept his promise. The pair recently announced plans to release a deluxe version of their debut with ten new songs, including a pair of Ralfy features.
Drakeo always had an incredible ear for talent (The Stinc Team, Remble etc.) and it’s understandable why he recognized something special in OTM. At this pace the group has a strong chance of continuing the movement that Drakeo started, while carving a distinct lane of their own. – Donald Morrison
How old are you two now?
Duffy: I just turned 21 last month, I’m on one right now!
You’re going to bars and shit? Buying cigarettes now?
Duffy: Not cigarettes, but I’m buying Casamigos for sure!
You started doing music when you were around 18-19 then. What started that?
Pesos: It was like, listening to Drakeo and shit, and a combination of hearing a whole bunch of weak ass n****s getting on. I’m like, ‘these n****s suck!’
Duffy: We really didn’t freestyle. Like high school type shit, we would roast the homies with some bars and shit. N****s knew we could come up with some shit on the spot, but once we started doing it, we just got our own studio equipment and shit.
You were just watching all these people do it, and you were like, ‘I could do that better. They’re really making money.’
Pesos: Yeah, literally! I knew I could do better than that and I wasn’t even rapping.
Have y’all always been fans of music? Into hip-hop? What was the first music you were impressed by? I’m 30 now, I had The Eminem Show. It was the first album that my dad let me buy.
Duffy: Pac was the first music I was impressed by growing up. I was like, ‘this n**** be talking some shit.’
Pesos: Me, as I grew up, it was Lil Wayne. That’s who I was fuckin’ with first. He progressed into poetry and all that, but he was low key on his Drakeo shit too, thuggin’.
Bars, lingo and just witty jokes.
Pesos: No cap, punchlines and shit. So that was low key when I started fuckin’ with rap.
Duffy: When Drakeo came, we knew. I’m not gonna lie, I haven’t listened to nobody else in two years, besides The Stinc Team, the homies.
You hear that from Drakeo fans. That was like me too, he overtook everything I listened to.
Pesos: I get tired after hearing one or two songs, like fuck this. Put Drakeo back on!
Duffy: Coming into this shit, we already knew, if we’re gonna fuck with anybody in this music shit, it’s gonna be The Stinc Team. They’re the only real n****s in L.A. that’s really doing this shit.
I wanted to ask how y’all got plugged in with The Stinc Team.
Duffy: Drakeo himself, no cap. We was always tapped in, even while he was in jail and shit. Right when he got out, no cap, I had posted this “A Boogie” freestyle, it was weak as fuck, but I was gassed, I guess. I sent it to him and he reposted it. I was like, ‘wow, this shit crazy. How much for a feature? $20,000? I’m gonna come thru and make something happen.’ He was like, ‘nah, it’s good on me, just send me something!’ Some months went by, tours started happening and it was way past locked in at that point. By the time we made a song [together], we had already been hanging with him for months.
Pesos: It was just crazy, the whole transition. We always knew we were different from all the other n****s that were trying to come up with us too. But actually transitioning from being a fan of Drakeo to rapping with The Stinc Team, it’s crazy the whole way it happened.
It really does seem like y’all followed your dreams, and you had a goal in mind. You were like, ‘I don’t want to sound like anybody else and I want to work with Drakeo, who sounds like nobody else.
Duffy: It sounds cliché, but literally. Being from L.A., we felt the wave when it first came. It was all new. Drakeo made that. All our homies were coming to school, arguing about Drakeo and RJ, and all this type of goofy shit. We were like, ‘cmon, we’ve been stepping for this shit!’ Life is crazy, but we appreciate that shit. He left us the perfect blueprint for us to create our own.
Pesos: If you knew him personally, or even from the outside, you know he didn’t fuck with a lot of people. He took us in and really pushed us to be who we are today. We would definitely not be who we are without him. He really had love for us.
When was the first time you guys connected with him in real life? Because I guess he hadn’t even been released for too long.
Duffy: Right when he got out, he started tapping in. Shit, probably right before the “Long Live the Great” Tour.
And when did the “Cliffhanger” [Remix] video get shot?
Duffy: That got shot in December. It was actually the day after Rolling Loud. We rolled with Drakeo to and from Rolling Loud.
I guess I want to rewind for a second.. I’ll ask Pesos first, what was your childhood like? As much as you’re willing to divulge.
Pesos: I was really just thuggin’ and shit. Just doing what I do. Moms was always working. My Pops was pretty much in jail all my life. So I was just out there.
Did you graduate high school?
Pesos: Yeah I did, for sure. I was still doing my shit though, in the books! I ain’t no dumb n****.
School came easy to the both of you guys?
Duffy: I don’t know about that. I wasn’t doing no homework or that type of extra shit, but it’s easy to pass.
If you’re a naturally intelligent person, you don’t really need to do homework like that.
Duffy: I’m gonna get the best grade possible, with a zero on the homework!
I feel like, to be a writer and a rapper, you gotta be a naturally curious individual.
Pesos: Facts. That’s also part of being a rapper, is being smart too. If you listen to Drakeo, the things he says.
Where did he get some of his references?
Pesos: I’ll be asking myself the same shit, really.
Duffy: I had to ask him, ‘who is Archie Bunker?’
Pesos: Then it all starts to make sense, but a lot of the other lingo just pretty much came naturally.
Duffy: It be real life gang lingo. N****s really just talk like that. We talk about this shit all day, what we be rapping about.
Pesos: It’s the whole lifestyle.
Your guys’ references are elevated too.. I’m like, ‘how did they think of this shit?’
Pesos: Whatever I think, I say it. Whatever happened today, whatever happened throughout the week, that’s it. It’s just for entertainment.
Absolutely. It seems like y’all work pretty quickly. How fast do you guys write? What’s the process like? Do you come with written shit [to the studio]?
Duffy: No, we usually get to the studio and just punch in on the spot. Or we hear a beat for like fifteen minutes, write some shit and then just punch in.
Pesos: Usually, whoever comes up with a verse goes, ‘I got this. Let me punch this in.’ Or if it’s some super shit, we’ll be like, ‘nah, you can come harder than that.’ We got that type of relationship. ‘You could come harder, bro’ or ‘nah, my shit sounds better on this.’ On “If I Go Broke,” I had written a freestyle and I thought I was gas, and he was like ‘nah bro, we gotta write some shit.’
Y’all have that creative process, where y’all can collaborate back and forth…
Duffy: Yeah. We be making our producers make beats on the spot and shit. We could go into a 2-3 hour session and come out with 4 songs.
Well the tape was like 20 songs. I feel like rappers these days go two ways, where it’s these smaller EPs or they just flood the streets with 20 songs.
Pesos: Low key, it’s because, before them [Drakeo and Ralfy], we were particular about what we dropped. That’s why Drakeo was rocking with us. We weren’t just throwing weak shit out. We came a long way and got better.
It sounds like most of the tape was recorded post-December. I was like, these are probably 20 songs that they recorded in January.
Duffy: Yeah, probably 16 of them. “Sippin’ Heavily” was before, Drakeo was fuckin’ with that one too. He probably would’ve hopped on that one, no cap. We were planning on doing a whole tape.
I mentioned this earlier, Drakeo had such an ear for talent. He found Remble, picked up on you guys…
Duffy: No cap. He did that. He knew what he was doing.
He elevated into putting on so many dope rappers, especially when there’s just so much bullshit coming out of L.A…
Duffy: It’s about that time! All these other states are getting all this fame and they’re talking about them on all these blogs and shit, saying ‘n****s want to be like these rappers.’ No. We’re gonna make them want to be like L.A. n****s again.
Pesos: It’s crazy, because there’s so many n****s out here who want to be like Drakeo, but don’t want to say it. It’s not like that in other states. The guys that look up to Young Thug, Gunna and shit, you know they wanna be like them! So it’s crazy. I’ll be the first one to say, my style and how I rap comes from Drakeo. That’s where I got my influence from completely.
Drakeo started a whole new sound. It felt like, in L.A., it had something going in 2016-2018. Greedo, Drakeo, Shoreline Mafia. They broke up, Greedo got locked up, Drakeo’s gone. Now it’s the time for someone [new] to come out.
Duffy: He left us the throne. He left the torch in our hands.
Yeah, I was taken aback by how dope your guys’ tape is. How’d you come up with the name OTM?
Pesos: We’ve been had that name. That’s how we grew up, you get it off the muscle.
So that’s something y’all have been saying since the early days. What does it mean?
Duffy: It means get it how you get it. Get it off the muscle. We are off the muscle. We got it how we got it. We’re independent artists.