From the swampy streets of somewhere strange the riders approach. They are clad in black and silver, marked with tattoos of strange alphabets, and blaring rap music from an unfamiliar past. This is the Raider Klan, and SpaceGhostPurrp is their mysterious leader. Though he may still be part of the A$AP Mob (we’re not exactly sure anymore), South Floridian SGP has had his own thing going before he got tied up with them pretty motherfuckers from Harlem, and is using his ever-growing fame as a launchpad for his other, stranger homies.
With ever changing Twitter handles, impressively obscure nomenclature (X’s and V’s and triangles standing in for any letter, with almost no consistent rhyme or reason), and seemingly no real drive to define themselves for us, it’s surprisingly difficult to find out who and what falls under the Raider Klan umbrella and exactly why, so pardon me if I miss anything or anyone (For example. Sorry about that Lex). The only apparent nucleus is SGP’s YouTube account, where videos or just songs over an image are posted sporadically, each appended with the designation “Raider Klan.” There’s SGP, of course, and Seattle based Key Nyata, whose “Get Fucked Up 1994” quickly established itself as the biggest non-SGP Raider Klan hit. His mixtape Two Phonkey is slated to drop real soon. Then there’s Yung Simmie who’s one of the few members outside of Purrp with a tape out, and has another, G-Funk Resurrection 1993-1995 coming soon. Vmber London is the XX chromosome reppin’ member.
Here’s where it becomes a little cloudier. There’s Ruben Slikk A.K. who raps sometimes, but also may share production duties with SGP, and Denzel Curry who dropped the King Remembered this past Fall and King of the Mischievous South Vol. 1 which based on the Datpiff homepage should be dropping any moment. Speaking of production, there’s also a Stunnaman track which is produced by SGP and has received the Raider Klan stamp. Stunnaman, of course, you’ll remember from The Pack. But hold up, cause we’re not done yet because there’s also Mike Dece, and the duo of Baker ‘N Lex (aka Eddy Baker & Sky Lexington) who all bear the seal of the KLVN.
To make things even murkier there’s also a couple artists who appeared on BLVCKLVND which we can only assume have some sort of ties to the Raider Klan. There’s the Greensboro, South Carolina crew known as the FANG Gang who’ve appeared on a variety of Klan approved tracks and remixes since BLVCKLVND’s release. But running 9 members deep, it’s hard not to look at them as their own movement simply in sync with the Klan. And then there’s of course Lil Ugly Mane, who in addition to a dropping a bunch of songs and tapes for a few years now, appears to be the man behind the Klan’s distinct artistic aesthetic by handling many of the Klan’s cover designs. And based on a series of freestyles they released, it also appears that Metro Zu and members of the A$AP Mob sub in at times.
As I scoured the internet for any sort of foothold on the facts about Raider Klan, it became increasingly obvious that I was probably missing the point. Much like BLVCKLVND RVDIX 66.6 was best appreciated as having come from absolutely out of nowhere, such is the Raider Klan. More like an amorphous creative mass than a posse, these exceedingly young Floridians and friends have managed to create a unique sound and aesthetic that isn’t tied to outsized individual personalities.
Apparently as important as the artist and song title, many tracks are given a year from the 90s appended to the metadata. Indeed much has been made of SGPs devotion to recreating the sounds of early 90s southern rap music, mostly that of the screwed variety. And though I would never doubt that SGP listened to a shitload of Three 6 Mafia growing up, I take issue with people saying that the Raider Klan sound is an imitative one.
Because while it may bear surface similarities, continued exposure will reveal that the 90s on display in this music is not really one that ever happened. Instead these seem like fuzzy transmissions from a bizarro version of that decade, down to the slightly-off videos that look part low-budget New York rap, part public access, and part something else. It’s that something else, the Dadaist x-factor if you will, that makes the Raider Klan so interesting.
These kids are weird and goofy, but they’re also smart. Impressively so. They latch onto hyper-specific aspects of the hip hop and cultural mythology (like Project Pat beats and ribald misogyny) and put them in a new context, whether it be through ceaseless repetition or apparent malapropism until things that we were once intimately familiar with become foreign, magnetic, and vaguely unsettling.
In a word, it’s weird. It’s very very weird. But not in a way that seems contrived. No, more like the work of proudly unique artists who don’t give a shit if you like it. Which, as always, makes it immensely likable.
Editor’s Note (1/20/12): As brought up by the author early in the article, via their own clandestine nature, difficulty in search term optimization and lack of any real authoritative documents on the movement on the web, it was hard to definitively nail down who or what exactly encompassed the Raider Klan. And as such we acknowledged that we’d probably miss a few things in trying to spotlight the crew. Since publishing this post, many of the Klan and the Klan’s affiliates were kind enough to clue us in on any of the gaps we missed in trying to get a handle on this mysterious crew.
We’ve updated this article from it’s original version to reflect that and hopefully paint an even more robust picture of the Klan. That said, I kinda have get the sense that we still probably may have missed a bunch. Regardless, the main point of this article was to spotlight what we feel is one one of the more exciting movements and artists emerging currently in Hip Hop and create a starting point for everyone interested in exploring their dark and syrupy world.- Whole Milk