It's always sort of crazy when one of your friends is like "YO MAN I RAP!" and then it turns out they're actually dope at rapping. This is especially crazy when said friend has, heretofore, displayed no interest in rapping. I guess what I'm trying to say is my friend Abdullah a.k.a. T. Kid, who used to work at VICE and continues to write our wildly popular Weediquette column, put out a mixtape. It's called SMOKES, and it's great. Above is his first music video from the project, for the song "Like This / Do Voodoo." Watch it above, and read what he has to say about it below.
I've played with bands for years, most notably as the drummer/producer for Sunny Ali & the Kid and The Kominas, but I had never created an entire collection that is just me—just T. Kid's brain: 16 pads, an electric guitar, a short scale bass, a microphone, and a fat sack of stinky nugs.
T. Kid SMOKES is the rap cassette tape that I have wanted to hear since I was 13. There are few joys in this world that match the discovery of an old, faded tape, popping it into the deck and hearing the musical expression filtered through the warping, deteriorating medium. That's how I heard Bizarre Ride II The Pharcyde, Cypress Hill's Black Sunday, Black Moon's Enta Da Stage, and DJ Shadow's Endtroducing......, among many others, and it changed the way I appreciate and create music. I make beats and rap like it's still 1995. My friend DJ R Squared helped me drive the sound home with his phenomenal scratching all over SMOKES, and my homie Spills cranked the whole mix so it really sounds like a tape.
Like much rap music from the cassette tape 90s, SMOKES is themed around weed, smoking it, loving it, and sharing it. My primary function in the world is as a cannabis journalist, and that's not just because it's a trend right now. I have always loved weed and it has always influenced everything I do. I'm just happy that I can tie it into my music in a direct way for the first time.
I've done a couple of mash-up type mixtapes before—a Hendrix vs. Wu Tang mash-up from back when mash-ups were a thing, and a beat tape cut entirely from Batman: The Animated Series—and I've been rapping since high school, but I never laid much of it down and it became lost to the ages for me personally. On SMOKES I get to revive an old self a bit. Next time, I'll have some mic support. I'm grooming my 15-year-old brother, a budding MC whom I've dubbed Word Problems. He is thrice the MC I ever was and we're already hard at work on his first release, which will follow the same Golden Age aesthetic as SMOKES.
"Like This / Do Voodoo" is a snapshot of what my homies and I do around Philly--smoking, chilling, walking the streets, going to the carwash without a car. It's kind of a sequel to the Sunny Ali & the Kid video "Two Girls." For the new one, director Eddie Austin applied his scrappy VHS style, which fits the sound of SMOKES perfectly. In this crew, quick and dirty does the trick, and I believe it shows.
Fun Fact: The aforementioned Sunny Ali is the very same one was all over the news for his photo of a birth on a Philly subway train on Christmas Day last year.