One might wonder what sort of person is capable of coming up with a line like “Dookie in her panties / That ain’t Hershey’s whore / Nasty-ass slut trying to get on ‘Jersey Shore.’” Look no farther than the boys of Purple Mouth Bandits, a hip-hop collective born out of wine-sipping sessions in Moore less than a year ago. Its members aren’t serial killers, gang bangers or sexual deviants. At worst, they are skate hooligans; at best, some of the best young emcees the state has to offer, with razor-sharp tongues and even sharper wits.
The only thing scarier than their creepy beats is their youth. PMB’s three emcees — Ryan Richardson (Dbl R), Jonathan McMillan (Methotrexate) and Wiley Merrell (Wild Cat) — and beatmaker Evan Ricketts (Big Easy) have yet to hit the drinking age.
Merrell, being the youngest at 18, is the most energetic and outrageous, while McMillan spits carefully crafted, socially conscious rhymes in a clear and focused enunciation that would do A Tribe Called Quest proud. Richardson is the smooth-voiced glue holding it together as the lumbering Ricketts constructs monster beats.
MF Doom, Madlib and skateboarding shaped their roots, and PMB has found a contemporary in fellow kids-at-heart rap outfit Odd Future Wolf Gang Kill Them All, which has blown up recently, thanks to outrageous stage antics and explosive lyrics.
PMB finds itself fighting the same battles as the L.A.-based OFWGKTA, pointing to the fine line between the music, art, comedy and reality.
“You can’t take it serious,” Merrell said. “I don’t.”
Said Richardson, “It’s like a dark comedy. Stuff that is happening in it might touch on rape or topics that people are scared of. It’s a joke, an act, then you snap back into yourself. It’s not like I’m actually going out and hacking people up.”
“But you know it’s in your imagination,” Ricketts said with a smile. “Those words came from somewhere.”
You can’t take it serious. I don’t.
As young as they are, the Bandits still find themselves having to explain it to their parents. Merrell recently showed his mom a video for his solo single, “Frankenstein,” where he shouts, “I’m a fucking problem, Osama bin Laden / I’m a fucking bomb it!” “My mom supports me, but … she’s really religious and got offended,” he said. “I told her not to listen.”
Added McMillan, “My mom hears the cuss words or the stuff about Satan, and she’s like, ‘Oh, God!’” PMB’s well-received debut album, “Watch the Thrown,” has convinced their parents and increasing number of fans to put the outrage aside and cave into a frighteningly good time.
“Some people say it’s vulgar, but it’s just for fun,” Merrell said.
Said Ricketts, “It’s about the context; you’ve got to look at it through the bigger picture. We’re just joking … most of the time.”