Los Angeles based record label, Hellfyre Club, is the brainchild of rapper Nocando who has enlisted three other practiced emcees, Busdriver, Open Mike Eagle and Milo to comprise the labels hip hop collective. Though the members of Hellfyre Club have their own respective projects, it’s their chemistry as a group that illuminates their individual strengths, resulting in a contemporary latticework of the rap you miss and the rap you’ve never heard before.
Hellfyre Club – A Hip-Hop Collective Unlike Any Other
Their creative diversity is what they seem to thrive off of as a group, and with each member’s rapping technique being so uniquely distinctive, hearing Hellfyre Club is like being chased through the cerebral labyrinth of one mans overactive subconscious. To put it simply, Hellfyre Club is weird, in the absolute best way possible.
During a live performance, they are team of mad lyricists, conducting their collective rap experiment on a stage and gripping their mics like effervescent test tubes. Busdriver, being the most animated, erupts into the kind of unruly, metamorphic movements that define him as not only a rapper, but a true performer, along with all members seemingly in a constant flux of transformation.
The group has been on a national tour for the last three weeks, recently passing through Austin, Texas for their SXSW showcase. Though on-the-road veteran Busdriver describes touring as “pretty routine,” he explains that the Hellfyre tour is a little different for him, “It’s a pretty big deal, to bring the mainstays of Hellfyre Club across the U.S. It really means a lot to me.”
What’s most refreshing about their music is that these guys don’t take themselves too seriously. They write laugh-out-loud material without ever compromising their aptitude for vertigo inducing beat production, lyrical meter and overall intellect. The members of Hellfyre are fiercely intelligent with their own unique ear for cadence and can be absolutely profound in their own right. As a collective, Hellfyre dismantles our notions of context through a bold synthesis of art and humor, which the group showcases on their latest album, “Dorner vs. Tookie.”
As a whole, the album conveys that the emcees of Hellfyre have no intention of misrepresenting themselves or their fallible nature as human beings. Tracks like “Apologies” serve as a funny and honest testimony of that mentality and Nocando brings a sense of apathy and necessary grit to Hellfyre on “Manchester” and “Give a Fuck.”
Open Mike Eagle, similarly to Milo, has a steady uniformity to his flow, articulating his words and musings clearly and with epigrammatic precision. Hilariously observant rhetoric is an unmistakable signature of Open Mike Eagle’s style and he is consistently a presence on the albums strongest tracks. “Degrassi Picture Day,” is counted among them, in which he and Busdriver reminisce with vivid acuity about those awesomely strange developmental years; “I got a special treat / Nestle Crunch probably / jacket members only / like my lunch posse / My wallet bulge on twenty five bucks / I’m coming home with that envelope from Lifetouch.” Milo, the youngest of the group, is wise beyond his years and there’s a candor to his layered perspective that feels not only insightful, but brand new.
Ultimately, Hellfyre Club might be one of the greatest things to happen to hip hop in recent memory. Their stylistic variance coupled with their compatibility as musicians, is a pummeling force that’s evident on every track of their album. As a rising presence in the hip hop circuit, there is a substance to Hellfyres music that designates them as both cunning entertainers and erudite poets, offering a clever juxtaposition of what you expect and what you actually get.
Article by Lea Weatherby