Koopsta Knicca - Da Devil's Playground 2xLP (D.Evil Muzik)
"In the darkest alleys of Memphis, in the early 1990s, a new kind of rap was born, with total indifference, which will have a very strong influence 25 years later on artists such as $uicideboy$, Raider Klan, Xavier Wulf, Lil Ugly Mane... A gangsta, slow and hypnotic rap tinged with horrific inspirations, mixing in the same style sulfurous satanism and morbid ghetto stories. Musically it would be Dj Squeeky who, inspired by the sound developed by DJ Spanish Fly at the end of the 80's, would have laid the foundations of this hip-hop subgenre by introducing this panting and continuous hi-hat wriggling, as well as the cut and tirelessly repeated choruses (chopping hooks) that would be the basis of Memphis' horrorcore style. But the main crew of the genre is indeed the Three 6 Mafia (formerly Backyard Posse, Triple 6 Mafia, then nowadays Da Mafia 6ix) and the releases of their label Hypnotize Minds Records.
Of all the artists who, at some point in their careers, have participated in the marvellous pioneering epic of the Three 6 Mafia, Koopsta Knicca is surely one of the most underappreciated. And with good reason: although he was one of the first to join the adventure in 1994 - the year of the release of the mixtape "Smoked Out, Loced Out" - he was forced to leave the ship in 2000, following an incarceration for theft. As a result, he missed out on the album "When The Smoke Clears", released the same year, the band's biggest success at the time (certified platinum by the RIAA). Died in 2013 of a ruptured aneurysm, his death left its mark on the biggest southern hip-hop fans, despite a second half of his career in the shadow of his peers. It must be said that Koopsta Knicca did not wait very long before shining on the scale of his city. In 1994, the year he officially entered the Three 6 Mafia sphere, he locked himself away in the studio with the eminent composers Juicy J and DJ Paul to work on a first solo opus. The result was "Da Devil's Playground", a true classic of the Memphis rap scene.
At this time, the horrorcore deployed by the Three 6 Mafia was at its peak. False satanists, the members of the crew used their diabolical references to allegorize their dark daily life as citizens of the worst neighbourhoods of Memphis. Koopsta Knicca undoubtedly made the best use of this aesthetic on his debut solo album. The young rapper prefers to adopt flows that are sometimes almost hummed with a falsely soft voice which, in reality, is pretty chilling. Moreover, this macabre treasure of the Memphis scene features the beginnings of the triplet flow (Migos, Drake...) invented by his fellow rapper Lord Infamous, notably on the track "Front A Busta". This record, more than a simple outlet, is marked by the permanent paranoia of its creator. He distils at will his most monstrous hallucinations, exacerbated by a magical tandem at the production: Juicy J and DJ Paul link judicious samples and nightmarish sound effects. The album's dusty and foggy mix completes "Da Devil's Underground" as a psychedelic ghost train oscillating between terrifying quietness and macabre tumult." - AOTY