The rap trio Villain Park are a bit evasive. But they are blunt about what they want to achieve. “We letting them know who Villain Park is, what we stand for, and what we bringing to the table,” says Smoke, the man behind the beats and the younger brother of Double K from People Under the Stairs.
I met the trio of Smoke, Bunge and Coli Cool in Culver City, outside in the patio of Tanners Coffee. All three reply “most def” when I ask if they plan to release their sophomore album after a brief two-year hiatus.
Smoke, Bunge, and Cool all met at Hamilton Highs School in Los Angeles. There they played basketball together and even started playing music together there. They analogize their craft fittingly as an instrument. “It all happened natural,” says Smoke.
Coli Cool — the groups DJ — first learned the drums, but he quickly moved on to DJ’ing. Although reserved, Bunge got into MC’ing through his fascination with Outkast’s lyrical complexities and the bodacious lines by Ludacris. Smoke describes himself more of a keyboardist. His older brother Double K of People Under the Stairs taught him a few things and then gave him a beat machine when he was young and told him to figure it out.
Together, Coli Cool, Bunge, and Smoke felt like they could come up with music deeper that was actually out there. “What I think about is substance,” Bunge says about their upcoming sophomore record. “What is the listener gonna get out of it, you know? We just wanted to be patient and find the right one to go out on.” Bunge is the MC mastermind of Villain Park. When he talks about other rappers and influences, he doesn’t just talk about them superficially, Bunge refers to them by their technical style and how they flip ideas and arrange their verses and words. Bunge showcased this knowledge in his freestyle when he appeared on Power 106, his flow in the video is meticulous yet smooth.
Coli Cool, the DJ, is more animated than the other two. When I talk to him about DJing and cites Jam Master Flash, Jazzy Jeff, and Mike D as influences. “I’m just my own damn self, though,” he says. “I just do my thing. I get my scratch on. I do a whole bunch of shit.”
For Villain Park good and bad music is categorized by originality. Being different from the mainstream is what motivates their sound which they describe as being a vibe. “[There] are all these fakes riding other people’s waves. It’s different if that’s what you’re about. You can’t hate if someone’s doing their own thing. If you’re copying, what’s the point of you doing it?” Smoke says with a tone that is matter-of-fact. The musical landscape to them is littered with unoriginality — and it couldn’t be more true.
“We could do whatever everyone else is doing, but that ain’t Villain Park,” Smoke says. To them the Villain Park mentality is authenticity.
“We Out Here” — their latest single — was released earlier this year. The music video was directed by Qewly — Bunge’s brother. He also shot and directed the groups previous video release “Regretz. “[Qwely] came up not with the whole thing, but he knew our vision,” explains Bunge. To Villain Park, “We Out Here” represents where they came from and where they’re going. Smoke explains that the song is their perspective of California culture.“It’s Cali man, representing for our peoples, black and white, from West L.A, Pico, Roscoe’s, Lucy’s [Diner], Inglewood, Randy’s Donuts, we representing,” Smoke says. “We talking about the civil rights movement, the Watts Riots.”
However, Villain Park’s back catalog of upcoming songs encompass more themes than just the geographic. “We talking about all kinds of shit. We talking about how cold the game is. We talking about how you gotta watch your back in these streets,” Smoke says. “It doesn’t matter where you are, or where you from.”
Villain Park perform at The Smoker’s Club Fest at the Queen Mary Sat., April 28 at 12:30. For full details click here.
I like to stare at my computer. Occasionally I type words to pass the time. Those words are usually about music.