“THAT CALIFORNIA GANGBANG CULTURE IS IN US/STARTED IN THE 70S AND IT AINT FINISHED/BIG HOMIE DIE, LIL HOMIE REPLENISH/PLACE IN SOCIETY? GODDAMN MENACE!”
KING FANTASTIC, WHO? WHAT? WHERE? (2010)
The words don’t exist that can justifiably showcase the greatness that is King Fantastic. The duo themselves makes a laudible attempt as they describe their debut album as “a concise study inwestcoastsynthesizerbeachbumgangtermusic.”
That description gives is a glimpes, but doesn’t give a real sense of their high- quality, tailor made sound. It is so much more. The best we can do at Revibe is say that it’s that west coast, filthy, NWA-make –you wanna-slap-your-mama-and-act-reckless type shit. Finger Snaps and Gun Claps is the brainchild of lyricist Killer Reese One and DJ/producer Troublemaker—King Fantastic.
Both are prolific west coast vets in their own right. Killer Reese is a dynamic lyricist that makes the most minimal subject matter sound complex. He is also the front man for Los Angeles rap group Bleu Collar and a respected fine artist in the Southern California art scene. Troublemaker, beyond living up to his name, is an internationally renown DJ—working with acts ranging from Johnny Cash to LinkinPark.
Their main commonality is the influence of growing up in Southern California and being influenced by original west coast Hip-hop acts like Cube, Dre, Eazy, Ice-T and the like. What captured their imagination were not solely their vulgar lyrics— of which there were abundance—and outlandish themes laid on wax. They were enthralled with the infusion of west coast-gangster-street-culture and heavy delivery of lyrics over potent production.
Together, they bring crisp lyrics and deliver a bass-pounding electro-infused beat that is a modern day ode to the music they grew up on. And what we get is as a byproduct is a refreshing sound with nostalgically familiar content. Yes.
The opening track, “The Los Art of Killing,” exemplifies the essence of FCGC’s genius. Gangster music is most definitely a lost art. The ability to capture the imagination of listeners with zone out beats, crafty lyricism, and a whole hell of a lot of violent imagery based on ones authentic reality is lost.
Killer Reese simplistic, yet clever delivery is an example of the artistic side of gangster music. He throws out gems like, “I encourage all of ya’ll frogs to jump/I heard they taste like chicken and my bitch in the kitchen/wit a pot of hot grease/ and a couple side dishes, go figure no meat/chop this nigga up so we can eat.” That, indeed, is the lost art of killin’.
They follow that up with what should be considered the thesis of the album called “Who?What?Why?” The chorus goes, “Im fascinated by this gangsta shit…I don’t mind the price of this gangsta shit.” That perspective is lost among the Renaissance of west coast rappers that is definitely expanding the range of music coming out of the left coast, but is almost ignoring a culture founded on gangsterisms that still exist today.
King Fanstastic is refreshing “on that back in the day shit.” It’s a throwback to the music that put the west on the map and a forward push toward the evolution of that music. It is a lesson in where gangster music’s place is in the culture today and a rejection of its archaic place in the current culture. They got one with this one. Thank God for Hip-hop.