Four years ago I was a slightly fresher-faced individual fiending for new music – music that was colourful, took you on an adventure and grabbed your attention from front to back.
Not knowing what to expect I pressed play on a project called Duality by someone called Captain Murphy and, me being me, I researched who this individual was to the tee. To my surprise, it turned out to be none other than LA beatmaker extraordinaire and Brainfeeder head, Flying Lotus, which threw me off quite a bit.
Firstly, I was already of a big fan of Flying Lotus but had no clue that he also rapped. Secondly, listening to Duality for the first time, I had no way of knowing who it was if I hadn’t researched it, as Captain Murphy’s voice was distorted, shifting from one pitch to the next. Finally, the fact that Lotus had created a supernatural alter-ego who was better than a lot of rappers was dope to me.
As a result, I was blown away by the mixtape – the beats, by the likes of FlyLo, Madlib, Just Blaze, Samiyam and Jeremiah Jae, were phenomenal and Captain Murphy certainly delivered on the lyrical aspect, as well as the likes of Earl Sweatshirt and Jae. The cartoonish nature of the tape, helped by the multitude of samples, certainly created an aura around the man behind the microphone and furthered my intrigue.
So many of the tracks stood out as well – ‘Mighty Morphin Foreskin’ started the tape right and, since then, I’ve always said it would be my soundtrack if I were ever a superhero. Up next was ‘The Ritual’, which, lyrically, is one of the best on the whole tape, as Murphy ponders his own existence in the animated world he has created. ‘Between Friends’, featuring Earl Sweatshirt was another highlight, as they both spit high-level bars over a hypnotic instrumental.
Then ‘Children of the Atom’ was kind of a dream come true for me, as my favourite producer ever, Madlib, teamed up with FlyLo for just under two minutes of greatness.
From then on, not only was I a Captain Murphy fan, but my appreciation for Flying Lotus was lifted to even greater levels and, for the past four years, I’ve been waiting for some new Captain Murphy.
Other than a couple of guest features, most notably alongside Snoop Dogg on ‘Dead Man’s Tetris’ from FlyLo’s last full-length album, You’re Dead, and the brilliant ‘Between Villains’ alongside Earl and Viktor Vaughn, the Captain has been fairly quiet. And I understand – Lotus has been preoccupied with his original brand and has contributed to some of the best music of the past year or so – but I believe the time is now for another Captain Murphy project.
He was really able to shake up the underground hip-hop scene with the release of Duality in 2012 and I believe Steven Ellison (his government name) can do it again in a way that can take the character, and himself, to the next level.
With Duality, Ellison showcased his impressive abilities on the microphone, but it was only a dip in the water for him. With another Murphy release, he could really add another achievement to his CV – a reputation as a top-class spitter.
In addition, Ellison has so many friends in the game, so imagine the talent he could enlist on another Murphy project; not just the likes of Madlib, Earl and the rest, but maybe even the likes of Kendrick Lamar, Thundercat and others from his Brainfeeder camp. The possibilities are literally endless.
Duality only gave us an introduction to the world of Captain Murphy and FlyLo will know himself that there is so much more to the mysterious anti-hero, and only he can display it to its fullest possibilities. What is the Captain’s backstory and how did he become the Captain? These are questions I would love to know.
Captain Murphy is an enigma due to the one project, and another mixtape or album will allow me and others the chance to break down his character even more and enjoy what could possibly be a great piece of work.
Until then however, I’ll continue to bump Duality and appreciate its uniqueness.