The ten most enigmatic figures in hip-hop

Categories: Lists

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Britt Chester

Sometimes there are figures in music whose mysterious and inscrutable magnetism transcends the music they make. More than musicians, they become cultural figures whose every move is analyzed every which way in an effort to figure out what's going on in that great gray matter, as Frank Ocean puts it. These unique characters usually end up making the best music, folks like these. Here's a look at the ten most enigmatic figures in hip-hop.

See also:
- Ten essential gangsta-rap albums
- The ten best storytellers in hip-hop
- Ten acts that helped make hip-hop more accessible to mainstream audiences

10. SpaceGhostPurrp
Once good friends with the A$AP crew, SpaceGhostPurrp is frequently credited with engineering the moody, atmospheric aesthetic they've capitalized on. Purrp relishes the darkness, and he manages to tell a lot about himself by revealing very little. His music is deeply introspective and bleakly isolationist, which informs his sinister tone. His aggressive lyrics are, in one respect, played out and worn, but the overall effect is surprisingly sophisticated and fresh. Purrp's debut album Mysterious Phonk: The Chronicles of SpaceGhostPurrp is off the beaten path, but his earlier music sounds, at times, like it was recorded on an airport runway, and he creates effects that don't seem possible.

9. Deltron 3030
Deltron 3030 recently released their first song, "Pay the Price," in thirteen years, from the (hopefully) forthcoming sophomore effort Deltron Event II. The Deltron crew (Del, Dan the Automator and Kid Koala) toured and performed several songs off the new album, and they sounded pretty good, but considering that they began work on the project in 2004, the whole thing has a bit of a Detox stink to it. Still, the longer we wait, the more mythical the fabled Event II becomes. The release is currently slated for Spring this year.

8. Captain Murphy
For a while, there, the internet was abuzz with hypotheses about the identity of rap's newest mystery, Captain Murphy. Theories about who this unnamed MC could be ranged from the guys of Odd Future to 2Pac. A few months ago, when it came time to perform live, Murphy gave us a break, coming on stage without a mask, outing himself as Flying Lotus. Still, there's plenty to be learned and understood about Captain Murphy -- in particular, his use of effects to give his voice an omniscient quality that further shrouds his impenetrable person. Murphy's debut full-length project Duality begins with "Since the death of God, there's been a vacancy open. You could fill that void. Here's how." Seriously, what is that?

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