Purple Bastard. Photo: Mes Sena/Courtesy of Artist/Facebook
The world of producers seems to be on the uptick as of late here in Houston, and while the names pop up and off, there are some who navigate away only to return harder and more focused. That’s pretty much what happened with Houston’s Purple Bastard, formerly known as That Purple Bastard, who moved away to Los Angeles four years ago only to come back with a more direct sound. On his latest release, Down & Out HTX, the cassette-only release ushers in a new era for the producer were the tracks are more focused and succinct while never losing their power and staying true to their instrumental hip hop leanings.
Things get opened by the chopped and screwed sounds of “713 A.M.” where the producer offers up a hook heavy synth mixed with a slowed down beat that comes to a stop at times, but never loses its swagger. Varying vocal cuts play in the background while the instrumentation speaks for itself, never deterring from the track’s intent. The song stays as true to the Screwston-era hip hop without sounding like anything false, but rather an almost newer version of the craft. He follows this with the groove heavy “All Bastard-All G,” with a hook that you can’t shake from the start of it. Mixing tropical bass elements and R&B undertones, Purple Bastard drops a song that immediately sticks to your insides. Though the track is just a bit over the two minute mark, it’s never cluttered with the pitfalls of overly used production techniques like many artists employ today. Two tracks later the producer utilizes a mix of Eastern sounds and techno to create a whole new type of hip hop on “Makin’ Waves.” Quite possibly one of the freshest takes on the genre, the clustered vocal tracks that eventually get glitched and reworked are coupled with a beat that’s new and away from most of the hip hop going. This gets followed up by the short lived but slow jam style of “Shit With The Door Open,” before the seventies vibe of “Trill Gon’ Feel.” While the song is only a couple seconds shy of the two minute mark, the implemented synths and sounds including a bizarre vocal track that chants like a person in pain are met with multiple vocal tracks that never get in the way of the slowed down and at times epic sound of the beat and the overall groove of the track.
By the eighth track, “Feet of Clay,” you should have noticed that Purple Bastard is on a completely different level. Mixing varying genres like soundscapes to craft together a mishmash of notes, there are moments where it feels like he’s producing tracks that almost no one going could ever match the intensity of through their rhymes. The Parliament funkiness of “Crack A Seal” turns a blind eye to the jazz elements that seem to be all over hip hop today for a more trippy and diverse sound. There are times when the song sounds like forty televisions going simultaneously at full volume at the bottom of a swimming pool, which is a trip you have to experience for yourself. This blown out speaker method is used to close out the album on “LAid Up” as well before the producer brings in a vocal that’s closer to disco than anything else, while using the chopped versions of those vocals to create a beat. Horns echo in the background while what feels closest to speakers thumping from the back of a Cutlass bump from the front. When a vocal track finds its way onto the song, it’s cut off by a spacey synth and beat cluster that give you a whole new side of the work Purple Bastard is offering up.
This cassette might be one of the most forward sounding things coming from Houston. By using chopped and screwed methods alongside fuzzy beats and sounds that seem to come from everywhere but today, Purple Bastard takes you deeper down the rabbit hole of his world while keeping things beat heavy enough to keep your head bopping from start to finish. You can pick up Down & Out HTX here, or pick up a copy at Deep End Records. Without word of any upcoming shows, keep your eyes peeled for Purple Bastard. Because after some time away from our city, it feels like he’s back in Houston with a vengeance this time.
Purple Bastard Returns With Fresh New Cassette This was reposted for my personal reading use