On first look, the duo RPxSB give off two definite vibes: Bay Area and MF DOOM. We’re unsure if the latter is an influence on Roddy Picante and Stay-Bizzy, or Rock Plaid and Survive Bullshxt, but the multiple pseudonyms, strong visual aesthetic and versatile style of their recent Creatures album series certainly may remind hip hop fans of the recently passed rap legend. Similarly, the Bay Area (RPxSB hail from San Francisco), is also kown for producing cutting edge artists. The weirder-than-weird art scene there is responsible for the cutting edge styles of E40, Andre Nickatina, Too $hort and, of course, Tupac Shakur. Following in those illustrious footsteps, RPxSB’s Creatures may put this duo on the same Bay Area map.
RPxSB aren’t exactly new; their YouTube channel goes back to 2014, where the friends began releasing “spit clips,” videos where they rapped together over popular beats. Roddy Picante also has a few solo tracks released around 2015, but it seems they deided early on that working together was better. It certainly looks to be more fun if their videos are anything to go by.
The duo has posted a lot of these clip-style videos as well as in-studio and fun shots of their life while creating (or partying) over the past seven-odd years, and it was a smart move to document all this chaos. It gave a face and a vibe to RPxSB long before they were doing more structured albums and videos for original tracks. The duo consider themselves filmmakers on top of being hip hop artists. These high-quality videos where fans can get to know the guys will make them feel like they’re coming along for the ride.
Flash forward to two years ago, RPxSB began working in earnest on original tracks and released their first LP, Audioporn. Their film production venture, now called Mobligated Films, also solidified with the release of the first video from this album, “SamOl.” The party vibes were still there with his tongue-in-cheek shot at Pussy Riot, but their sound from this album on would be a bit mroe grounded in indie rap and, dare we say it, conscious hip hop.
Said conscious rap was tempered with a healthy dab of irony, once again A’la MF DOOM or Odd Future, but it’s there nonetheless through all RPxSB’s releases over the past three years, and there have been many. The duo released two full-length albums in 2020 and two long EPs (another sort of series) and an album, an EP and a one-off single in 2021. That’s nothing compared to 2022: the three Creatures albums are their second, third and fourth long-plays this year, and it’s only September. That’s a lot of work.
We’ve established that these two definitely put the work in, but their style makes it seem effortless. As with a really good dancer or actor, audiences watching RPxSB’s videos or listening to Creatures will get lost in the world these two skilled rappers create. It comes both from the flow and the production in this case. With a diverse producion style ranging from funk to trap and both Roddy and Bizzy having excellent vocal timbres and lyrical prowess, it’s really a can’t-miss.
Act I of the Creatures series is Things that Kill Me Inside, released August 26. Opening with a smooth, semi-atmostpheric track called “Skyfall,” the introspective tone of Act I is set from jump. The beat on “Skyfall” is minimal as the duo flex their rapping muscles. No mumble rap or one word per bar here; the flows roll off these golden tongues faster and smoother than the hip hop world has heard from anyone in years. They also switch styles quite easily. “Skyfall” has a sort of Mike Jones-meets-MF vibe where the jazzy, somehow even more chill second track “Weather Patterns” has a more gravely, syncopated format a’la Nas or fellow Bay Area artist E40. Act I closes with “Indie Playlists,” a highlight of the whole series where the pair reminisce about the golden age of hip hop. A favorite of the aritsts themselves, yet another well-produced black and white mini film with 90s vibes that match the song.
Act II: Boar, dropped on September 2, predictably has a much different vibe than the first act. No less introspective in lyrics, the music and verse are more aggressive, as is the subject matter. Second track “Kevin Nash” is downright creepy, giving Geto Boys’s “Mind Playing Tricks on Me” vibes, while the trappy “Fentanyl” featuring Real Ones is has a chill yet eerie quality. The creepily named closing track “The Demon Hour” is surprisingly fairly peaceful with really interesting sound design.
Act III: JOPO just dropped last week on September 9 and it the most lighthearted installment of Creatures. Based on the cartoonish album art for each installment (Things That Kill Me Inside is a smiley face surrounded by drugs and Boar is, well, a boar), JOPO is a sort of clownish character and the album has more silly vibes, at least musically. Also taking from the golden age of clowns, there’s loads of 50s and 60s sampling in tracks like “Bad Lemons” and “Bip City Blues.” JOPO is also probably the funkiest of the three installments, taking the dirty south and Houston undertones to the forefront. We were right to spot that Mike Jones style, it seems, as the closing track here, “281-330-8004,” is a callback to a lyric in Jones’s “Back Then” hit from 2005 and it’s also sampled in the track.
In a fair music world, the Crreatures series would be blowing up already. With vocal and lyrical chops that rival the greats like DOOM and Nas, indie uniqueness like their Bay Area neighbors E40 and Nickatina and dirty south funk like Mike Jones, RPxSB are almost too good for this era of hip hop. With diverse style, epic flows and something for everyone, if you like real, good hip hop, do yourself a favor and become one of the Creatures.