Support the news

Gonjasufi: Musings Of A Hip-Hop Mystic

Gonjasufi may sound at first like a rambling hip-hop crackpot, but there's more to the California rapper and singer than mere eccentricity: What appears messy and thrown together is anything but. In "Kowboyz & Indians," Gonjasufi lays down psychedelic studio tricks and goes to work with the steady hand of a world-class surgeon -- or at least a Dr. Frankenstein. Countless genres are chemically fused, making it difficult to trace which ideas came from where. A Spanish-language vocal blares with megaphone force over a chunky, low-end beat while gnarled guitars slither through the mix, heavy with distortion. Much of the beat is based on a heavy sample of "Bella Kali," a forgotten funk jam from the sister rockers in Las Grecas.

The hood ornament on this jalopy is the rusted voice of Gonjasufi, who may just be the most unusual man on the mic since Wu-Tang Clan's Ol' Dirty Bastard. Gonjasufi isn't acting alone, though: Producers such as Mainframe, the Gaslamp Killer, and Flying Lotus -- all rap experimentalists in their own right -- leave their fingerprints all over his debut album, A Sufi and a Killer. "Kowboys & Indians" provides a perfect soundtrack for mind-altering soul searches, even without heroic doses of peyote.

Listen to yesterday's Song of the Day, and subscribe to the Song of the Day newsletter.

Copyright NPR 2018.


+Join the discussion

Support the news