Tag Archives: Red Pill

The Best New Hip-Hop on Bandcamp


This month’s crucial hip-hop picks include indie rap veterans who are embracing their years in the game, video game fiends paying tribute to the late, great Frank White, and a rapper who at one time had the whole Internet convinced he was actually an alias of Nas. In a break from the normal U.S.-based selection, we also take a detour to Auckland, New Zealand where a whole bunch of rap cats are mustering up their own brand of creative hip-hop.
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Red Pill’s “Instinctive Drowning” Takes a Visceral Look at Depression

Red Pill
Red Pill. Photo by Ron Jude
“I want my friends to be happy, my generation to be happy.”—Red Pill

Like comedian Louis C.K., who he samples in his 2015 song “Rum & Coke,” lyricist Red Pill is fond of cracking sharp jokes about his own desperate existence. “I’m sick of looking at that coffee table, covered in these past dues,” he raps, “and writing about that coffee table covered in those past dues.” He’s describing his apartment, in the middle of a supposedly safe neighborhood, where his girlfriend still got carjacked. His own twinkling production adds a lush romanticism, softening the blows.

“Gin & Tonic,” from his new album Instinctive Drowning, is a spiritual sequel to “Rum & Coke.” Both are similar in scope, but on “Gin & Tonic,” Red Pill—born Christopher Orrick—realizes that even he’s tired of complaining. “All I want is to be happy in this life I got,” he sings on the hook.

“I think it’s more powerful in a way,” Orrick tells us. “It’s just two different ways of approaching the same topic. But I wanted to try to change my perspective on it and dig a little deeper. Get rid of the humor. Stripping it really down to what it is.”

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The Middle Class Heart of Ugly Heroes

Ugly Heroes
photo by Jeremy Deputat

“We don’t have an agenda. Our branding is the fact that we’re quality people who give a shit about our environments. We’re responsible, decent folks.”—Verbal Kent, Ugly Heroes

At its best, hip-hop is a voice for the voiceless. It’s not about the wealth you’ve acquired, or the amount of liquor you consumed at the club. It’s an expression of real concerns, and the best rappers expose personal struggles as a way to help listeners cope with their own stress. Over the past three years, that’s what MCs Verbal Kent and Red Pill have done in their work with producer Apollo Brown as Ugly Heroes. They create grassroots rap that speaks to everyday people on the grind—those living check to check, working several jobs to keep food on the table.

The group feels more cohesive since their 2013 LP and their self-titled EP a year later. Its members still celebrate the hustle, but unlike their previous work, the forthcoming Everything in Between also places value on the little things that make life so grand. “I think the vibe is a bit more introspective,” Red Pill tells Bandcamp. “I think it’s more about family. It’s more about appreciating what you have versus being upset at what you don’t, and knowing that the people around us are the ones who make us whole.”

Ahead of the album’s release, we spoke with Red Pill and Verbal Kent about its creation, why they live the reality they rap about, and presidential candidate Donald Trump. Because, of course.

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