Houston’s rap scene has had a division of North and South sides ever since Swishahouse popped up on the Northside in the late Nineties in response to the rising prominence of DJ Screw and the Screwed up Click both have contributed some of the biggest names that have come out of the H, but the schism is clear throughout the history. If you’re from the southside, like I am, you’re almost obligated to have a plethora of Skrew, Big Moe and Pokey, and Fat Pat in your playlists. I also have a ton of Z Ro in rotation because I live ten minutes away from his neighborhood in Missouri City, or Mo City as we call it. For me, it’s due to the simple fact that these guys are rapping about places I’ve been, streets I’ve rolled down, an overall familiarity with the content of their music. So, it’s not that often that I find myself listening to any Northside guys, other than the heavy hitters like Paul Wall and Slim Thug. However, I’ll have to make an exception for one of my newest finds, Northside’s own Scrap Bundy and his debut mixtape.
Bundy first popped onto the scene in December of 2014 with his first single, which lends it’s title to his moniker, “Scrap Bundy.” The single is now the leading song on his recently released, eight track, debut mixtape, Out the Gym. The project is produced by Beldondidthat, and is one of the highlights of the tape throughout. The tape is also sponsored by A$AP Ant’s DJ, DJ Nick. On first listen, he strikes me as a Southern Danny Brown, which I’ll attribute to his high pitched voice, and eccentric delivery that constantly switches up the style and keeps the listener on their heels as to which way they should proceed in nodding their head.
The opening track begins with a brash, loud gunshot sample that just isn’t mixed well enough, but once you get passed that and let the keys and the choral samples in the back be your focus, that gunshot becomes an afterthought. Bundy’s rhymes neatly fold into each other, and seem to just roll off of his tongue effortlessly, almost like he’s taking a freestyle approach to the song. This song is definitely one of his stronger showings. “Exclusive,” follows the opener, and reminds me of “Never Been,” by Wiz way back from the Kush and Orange Juice days; it has this luxurious smoked out feel, and despite that lax environment, Bundy sounds his most urgent, trying to stress his prowess at everything he attempts. “That Guy,” despite it’s initially slow crawl, turns out to be one of the more energetic tracks on the release. Partly, due to the production that brings the listener in and Bundy’s couplets that leave you nodding your head with his every word, eventually leading you to the point you just want to wild out, turning the track into a straight hype song. “Lil N***a” follows with playful keys that reminds me of the ice cream-truck-esque sound of “Chain Hang Low.” That iced out sound lends itself to Bundy flexing and gloating about his jewelry and his success. I consider it more of an interlude than anything, it’s a little too soft to fit into the his whole “out the gym” concept. Where it’s predecessor lacks in muscle, “Trap Money,” more than makes up for it, which some of the crispest production on the tape, and some of the most inspired lyricism from Scrap himself. “F**k it Up” is just way too reminiscent of Migos’ “Pipe it Up,” but we have seen a lot of artist have success borrowing a concept from other names, so I’ll let it slide because it is undeniably energy inducing. (Kanye basically copy-pasting “Panda” on TLOP, or Keith Ape borrowing the sound of OG Maco for “It g Ma”) “Pay Me” greets it’s listeners with some fuzzed-out, maxed-out drums, and crisp high hats. Together it creates this delightfully disorienting experience worthy of head banging and throwing around your body with reckless abandon. The final track is by far my favorite, “OTM,” which stands for Off the Muscle compiles everything that Bundy’s music is best at in one song. It has those worn-out keys like an old toy keyboard, the distorted bass that is surprisingly compatible with this style of rap. Along with the production and the rapid fire delivery, Bundy procures a performance somewhat reminiscent of Hodgy Beats of Odd Future, and their maxed out production of their earlier work.
It’s exciting to see someone coming from a city that already has a defined way of doing things, and then just deciding to do it a completely different way; it admirable. Scrap Bundy does just that, while listening to his music, I kept trying to equate him to someone, anyone from Houston, and I just couldn’t. Some would say this is treason to his hometown, but I don’t think that concerns Bundy. Houston hip-hop was not built on following the same path as the rest of the rappers around the country, it was built on people’s ideas that were new, exciting, and inventive.
Now, Bundy doesn’t deliver a once-in-a-lifetime performance on Out the Gym, but you don’t need him to, in fact you don’t want him to. Scrap has left a lot of room to grow, as well as a good start for carving out his niche in the game. Bundy surely has the potential and talent to become one of the next big names out of Houston, but he needs more experience, and chances to flex his lyrical muscles on a potentially larger scale. Scrap Bundy is definitely not the most popular artist I listen to, but that’s the whole reason why this is being written; he has all the tools to blow up, he just needs the nudge forward. So, give Scrap Bundy a listen, let me know what you think, or if there is someone else you want me to give my opinion on. Thanks for reading! Below I am leaving links to the mixtape, Scrap’s soundcloud, and the video to “OTM.”
Social Media: @scrapbundy