Listen: Char Kway Palz, Yung Spøøky Lyfstylé Mixtape
Rap's hottest new clique Char Kway Palz drop an experimental debut that goes hard in the paint.
You better believe that Hamish, James, Stephen and Jack have all done a lot of shit in the Perth music scene just to live this here Yung Spøøky lifestyle. They’ve got years of training and jamming between them – as members of bands past and present HamJam, Doctopus, The Growl, Good Boyz, Electric Toad, MmHmmm and more – but we all know those bands was them frontin’ because obviously for years they’ve all been dying to bust out, dreaming of throwing down the guitars and drumsticks in exchange for rap freestyles. They've finally done it: Char Kway Palz. Now they on top of the mountain, puffin’ on clouds. MDMA, acid, blunts, Char-Kway chicks on their dicks, riding in their beat-up sedan whips.
Perth rap's hottest clique recently dropped their debut tape, Yung Spøøky Lyfstylé. Stylistically, the Yung Spøøky Lyfstylé Mixtape is firmly entrenched in the profound weirdness of the Atlanta rap tradition; throughout the release the Char Kway Pals touch on the traphouse of Gucci and the experimentalism of Rome Fortune, as well as dipping their toes into strip-club rap, with a liberal serving of Young Thug’s edgy brilliance. There’s no signs of a huge, turn-up club anthem on the mixtape (with the exception of perhaps the big energy of LIT.) but there’s creativity in bucket-hat loads: excellent beats, fluid flows, and unbeatable synergy between the CWP rappers, who are mostly all present on every track; seamlessly weaving in and around each other with vocal blows. For anyone who is not prepared to take the Char Kway Palz seriously, know that their music is far from juvenile, and, whilst it may be framed in appropriation, this mixtape is an accomplished effort backed with actual musical balls. And you know, no one thought Yung Lean was for real, and now the kid is touring the US and selling out shows and getting all the free orange juice and doobies he ever dreamed of, based purely on the power of his Youtube prowess and his doo-rag. So think about that.
YSL is the tape’s standout, and a nice introduction for the listeners to the Palz, as each member in the group takes a turns going in, showcasing their varying vocal styles, over a hazy, cloud-rap style beat and sweeping piano. Jack takes care of crooning out the catchy hook, as well as the first verse, with some likeable UK-grime style inflection in his delivery, as he throws out references to noughties jams and Tinashe “Shit Spooky, ain’t it?” “Girls call me Sisqo, I’m tearing that thong, Girls know my disco, is getting 2On.” Ham goes in for a low-key verse, peppered with some unintelligible blerghs and questionable wordplay, before S.O.B. swoops in for a monstrously aggressive verse:“Whose that dude chillin with your chick? It’s me maaaan. It’s Steeeevaaaan (…) Tour America, rich as a pussy. Now everygirl in my hometown try to do me!”
Expen$ive is on the money, too: opening up with a trappish, Chimes-vibe beat, this one sees CKP up the pace for an Atlanta-style gangsta number, with yet another highlight in the raucous interlude from S.O.B., as the Palz bemoan Alexa Chung not following them on Instagram despite them having loads of cash in their bank accounts “Mahalo bitch, diamonds on my Shaka shot so sparkly even rhi rhi let me fuck her”. Would hit. On Midori Lemonade we hear a likeable slowed-down Mustard-style beat, and some Future-esque auto-tune emotional warbling. Casual offers a rare reflective moment in the mostly high energy mixtape –a low-slung, sad-boy cloud rap number that calls to mind Bay Area duo Main Attrakionz, or Gucci Mane's Hell Yes. LIT. is pure club fire: the track takes a darker turn, as the boys all hop in to show off their lyrical fire on top of each other over some menacing production; with a nice touch coming by way of classically-trained Ashton Cameron stepping in with some ratchet Sasha Go Hard-style raps.
Yerba Man is one that long-time Char Kway fans will already be familiar with, as an offering from the group’s early days. “White Danny Glover, yeah I’m Jackie Chan,” raps S.O.B. (never afraid of a bit of racist appropriation) over a sinister beat. The wordplay isn’t as strong as elsewhere on the tape; you can definitely see CKP have advanced heaps lyrically since their Yerba Man days.
Take U There sees the Palz make a misguided adventure into EDM territory, and, despite the assistance of big co-signs Diplo and Scrillex, the track evolves into that kind of high-NRG rubbish with pitched up vocals that the Loftus Rec Centre always smashes during my exercise bike class. YSLOD is daaaaamn good though. After a more grounded lead-in from Ham, singin-ass rapper Ginole goes balls-to-the-wall Thugga, brapping and squawking and even totally nailing the high-pitched sing-warble, over a super-wavvy, bass-heavy beat; the piano is a nice touch.
“Char Kway independent only ‘til we sign them labels,” spits S.O.B. with intention on LIT. With such a standout mixtape as Yung Spooky Lifestyle on their hands, surely it won’t long before Cash Money’s knocking on Spooky Ginole’s bedroom door. This tape is underground rap at its finest, track after track of pure wank material. If the Aus alt-rap scene fire ever finally starts to burn, Char Kway Palz will be its essential torchbearers. #Spooky4Lyf
Char Kway Palz - Yung Spøøky Lyfstylé Mixtape GET IT HERE FREE!! V. HOTTT. Read the official statement accompanying the mixtape below:
THIS MIXTAPE IS BY CHAR KWAY PALZ. CHAR KWAY PALZ IS STEPHEN HAMISH JAMES AND JACK. CHAR KWAY PALZ WAS CONCEIVED AT GORENG2 IN MT. LAWLEY, WA, 6006. SHOUT OUTS 2 OUR SPIRIT ANIMAL & MENTOR GEORGE CAPELAS. THIS MIXTAPE IS SERIOUSLY HOT FIRE. DUN FUX WITH IT IF UR NOT READY 2 RECEIVE IT.
YSLOD BISH! YERBA! CHAR KWAY PALZ XXX
Are you really about that Yung Spooky Lystyle? Or nah? Char Kway Palz live launch Yung Spøøky Lyfstylé tonight at Mojo’s, Fremantle, with support from DJs Cam Scott and Pilerats’ own Dan Dalton. 6pm. Mojos, 237 Queen Victoria Street, Fremantle, $10 on the door. Pile your ratchets in the Jeep, brew up some Yerba, and be about it.