You may have heard of Turquoise Jeep records by now. The hip-hop collective, each of whom call different parts of the U.S. home, have become viral celebrities on YouTube. Among the notables: Yung Humma, a dreadlocked ladies’ man; Flynt Flossy, who bears a remarkable resemblance to Charlie Murphy; Slick Mahony, the least seemly of the bunch but also one of the most thoroughly entertaining, and Tummiscratch, the harlequin-masked producer behind it all.
There’s a lot of debate as to the legitimacy of Turquoise Jeep. Between the bawdy hilarity of their songs and the production values which suggest a meticulously crafted joke more than a standard rap video, many consider these guys to be a series of talented YouTube comedians and nothing more. There’s also the darker possibility that people know they’re taking themselves seriously and laughing at them anyway. I’m inclined to think this is somewhere between self-parody and straightfaced work; interviews such as the Village Voice’s sitdown with Flynt Flossy suggest that whether this is done with a poker face or for laughs, this is a group of incredibly grateful guys (they opened for Big Boi, for Chrissakes) who are having a great time doing what they’re doing while people come along for the ride.
I do feel it’s important to acknowledge that this column could be read as ironic appreciation of a thing that’s more than a little bit silly, but to that I can only say that I’ll argue all day that what the good folks at the Jeep are doing is more sincere than a lot of hip-hop today. Their lyrics might be absurdly sexual, and their dance moves might seem like something that wouldn’t be out of place at the Found Footage Festival, but at the same time, it’s fun. They’ve got the bounce of 1980s hip-hop, and harken back to a time when not every single MC was concerned with coming off hard as hell, 24/7. There’s room for fun in the genre, and frankly, if Wiz can open an album with “Some people say I only rap about bitches and champagne,” and then do nothing but that for 65 minutes, or stabbing Bruno Mars in his goddamn esophagus is the kind of subject matter that gets label imprints created, why not these guys?
So, I present, the top five essential cuts from Turquoise Jeep (pretty thoroughly NSFW, and featuring various degrees of talent from the video girls):
1. “Lemme Smang It” – Yung Humma feat. Flynt Flossy
For most people, this was where they discovered Turquoise Jeep, as evidenced by the 3,700,000+ hits. This is also arguably their most infectious track; the synth melody will linger in your brain like it or not. It’s a pretty good embodiment of a TJ track; lyrically, it’s filthy, but that does lead to some great verses, such as the now-cult-iconic rhyming of “smash-bang fusion” with “cooch contusion.”
2. Go Grab My Belt – Slick Mahony
If you’re going to go with the argument that TJ has to be in jest, this is probably going to fuel the fire. That said, this is their signature slow-jam, from a man who even Flynt Flossy admits looks like “a dude who fixes computers or something.” But again, just try and get this out of your head.
3. Fried or Fertilized – Yung Humma feat. Flynt Flossy & Whatchymacallit
Another Humma/Flossy jam. I’m almost sad I didn’t write this article before Easter, because this would’ve completely changed the complexion of the holiday for most people.
4. Did I Mention I Like To Dance – Flynt Flossy
The dancing in this is reminiscent of MC Hammer on crank, but reports from their ongoing tour suggests that all the major players in TJ bust these moves in unison. No matter which way you slice it, that’s pretty goddamn impressive.
5. Sex Syrup – Slick Mahony feat. Yung Humma
Slick tries on his best Prince impression here. I had to include this one just for the chorus, which hits the perfect mixture of lewd and STD-level infectious. If such prose hits a queasy nerve, you probably shouldn’t peruse this one.
(Note: You can purchase Turquoise Jeep’s compilation sampler, Keep The Jeep Ridin’, on iTunes.)