BandHip Hop


On the tenuous fringes of what can be deemed ‘rap’ there lies the reviled LA maverick, Busdriver. Who for years has been wowing unsuspecting audiences with his patented visceral onslaught of rants, rhyming and displaced musical sensibility. Whether sitting-in with unlikely cohorts such as; Islands, Daedelus, Z-Trip, TTC, Boom-Bip, 2mex etc., or plowing throw his enthralling solo sets, there is a distinct brand of showmanship employed and at least a handful of concert-goers who are maladjusted enough to submit to the shear unadulterated thrill ensued.

Unrelenting touring and the willingness to embrace the transient nature of the road gives way to the title of his 5th solo album and Anti/Epitaph debut, RoadKillOvercoat, arguably BD’s most ambitious yet infectiously catchy effort to date. When asked what has been the personal impact of his modern-day troubadour lifestyle, BD states, “ I lament that I have become a serial-dater ” and that “ even when I’m home and off tour, I find myself loading-in at random venue at 6 o’clock sharp,(and) calling promoters that don’t exist ”.

The more apparent impact is shown in the contents of the new record, which boasts a depth and stadium-sized bombast that has only been hinted at in previous BD releases. Production on the record is masterfully tackled by L.A.’s own beat champion DJ Nobody (Plug Research, Ubiquity) and multi-instrumentalist/programming whiz, Boom-Bip (Lex). The songs themselves seamlessly leap from the inadvertent club-banger, “Kill Your Employer (Recreational Paranoia is the Sport of Now)”, accented with sneering criticisms towards the innocuous left-winger, all the way to the psychedelic onslaught of “Secret Skin” and it’s almost hokey optimism. This time around BD wields the pop song framework, beats it into submission and interjects his skittish sense of the absurd. No song in BD’s catalog displays that more then the 80’s rock-tinged tour-de-force, ”Sunshowers”; which tallies the inconsistencies in the bohemian lifestyle of the art school grad and the sub-par works that it gives way to.

The actualization of BD’s unlikely objectives on this record rely heavily on the music provided by Nobody and Boom-Bip, which can hardly be likened to any garden-variety backpack rap backing tracks (Hey, that rhymed!) that have weighted down the genre year after year. Their sensibilities reach far outside of the cul-de-sac that is underground hip-hop and are more akin to dance music, indie rock, folk and mainstream rap. Their solo efforts reflect this, as respectively they have worked with a who’s who list of indie rock and electronic artist.

Still, BD considers these themes and approaches to be old hat. For the past 13 years he has been toiling away in a crew of extraordinary emcee’s who’ve prided themselves on prodding boundaries and challenging the norm. Coming into the fold of the Project Blowed crew in 1993, BD was groomed early on to be the die-hard stalwart for the post-Freestyle Fellowship/Goodlife aesthetic. Being taken under the wing of LA luminaries such as Aceyalone, Mikah-9, Abstract Rude, Fat Jack, CVE and others, he was looked at as a torchbearer for the unsung heroes of the LA underground hip-hop scene.

His first record, Memoirs of the Elephantman, was self-released and peddled hand-to-hand on CDR’s in 1999. It quickly became a must-have for Cali-rap enthusiasts even though it sold modestly. It wasn’t until his second official title in 2002, Temporary Forever, that he garnered some nationwide attention and began carving his niche as a noteworthy freestyler and zany rap phenom. He received glowing reviews and write-ups in prestigious publications such as: The Village Voice, The Wire, LA Weekly, and URB etc. The stand out track alone, ‘Imaginary Places’, is heralded to this day as being one of the most fully realized testaments to BD’s untethered talent. The song is based around BD’s dizzying vocal dexterity as he shadows a staccato flute riff playing a rendition of one of Bach’s classical standards.

The acclaim from his seminal sophomore release landed him a series of deals with the genre-blurring, tastemaker label Mush (US) and the underground hip-hop branch of Ninja Tune, Big Dada (UK). The Weather (Mush), in 2003, was the gallantly unclassifiable collaboration between fellow LA beatnik rambler Radioinactive and producer Daedelus, who is fawned over by IDM nerds and reclusive music pundits alike. This lead to the Daddy Kev produced Cosmic Cleavage (Big Dada) in 2004, which touched on BD’s qualms with heartbreak and the in’s and out’s of courting fickle, cutesy 20-somethings.

Only since Fear of a Black Tangent(Mush) in 2005, has BD solidified his place in the pantheon of undie rap do-gooders and indie music in general. The record playfully highlights BD’s disdain for the prematurely plateaued career that he must lug here and fro, yet spares the listener of any bitter self-pity.

But even with the stellar works in his exte


Temporary Forever
The Weather
Cosmic Cleavage
RoadKillOvercoat due out 07