If you utter his real name and snitch to police, Isaiah Toothtaker will likely torture and kill you. He'll probably use a hammer or some weird rusty mace on your face. If you insult him on Tumblr he might just name his next album after your taunts.
At least that's the story behind Sea Punk Funk, his latest album released today by Anticon and produced entirely by Sixtoo A.K.A. Prison Garde.
"I can't believe this sea punk cholo blah, blah, blah," Toothtaker recalls one Tumblr blogger writing after Toothy Wavy, his collaborative EP with Max B and The Hood Internet, garnered attention in the blogosphere. "And I was like you know what man, that shit is hella tight. I'm gonna ride with that. I got amped on it. Sea punk cholo is what's up."
Toothtaker had just finished tattooing a huge snake on a patron in his Tucson tattoo parlor Staring Without Caring when the Phoenix New Times caught up with him for a phone interview.
He's tattooed everywhere, his head is shaved and his race is a bit ambiguous -- so he's often mislabeled a white rapper or "Cholo." Or, in certain corners of the Internet, a Sea Punk.
WTF is a Sea Punk? The Internet meme, apparently coined by music video director and Twitter demigod Lil Internet, is used to describe trippy aquatic visuals made with '90s Internet graphics and chicks with blue hair. Basically. (If some 16-year-old raver girl form Buckeye with sea foam streaks and butterfly wings corrects me in the comments, I won't be upset.)
Toothtaker's music and his flow is hard to corner so it's easy to imagine people trying to put a label on it.
"Someone calls me 'hate rap,' someone says I'm underground, someone wants to say I'm weird skinhead goth fucking gangster rap, some call us 'death rap,' they call us all sorts of shit, you know. I don't give a fuck about none of that," he says.
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It's not the first time Toothtaker has taken cues from the Internet. Last year he and Wavves drummer Jacob Safari (also of Tucson) flipped Antoine Dodson's "Bed Intruder Song," into an open letter to snitches. Sea Punk Funk and "Intruder" are part of what make Toothtaker intriguing. His music and videos are often gritty street tales inspired by or at least in dialogue with nerdy Internet culture, a tactic used to great success by fellow hip-hop provocateurs Odd Future.
Toothtaker has no qualms about engaging Tumblr, and Internet culture in general.
"Why the fuck not embrace that shit if that's how it's being distributed, if that's how it's being made, and that's where it's having its effect," he says. "If that's how it's getting to people then why the fuck not?"
The album is entirely produced by Sixtoo, who has never fully produced a rap album besides his own. This is his first album back with Anticon after an extended hiatus. Sixtoo and Toothtaker first hooked up on an album for MURS 3:16 Presents Isaiah in 2008. Before that, the two were friends. Isaiah tattooed a half sleeve of a train on Sixtoo's arm.
Now that the album's out, stay tuned for the barrage of videos -- no doubt teeming with Sea Punk imagery -- Toothtaker is sure to hit you with. They are often as entertaining or integral to his albums as his flow (see below, NSFW). Then, after releasing three genre-bending albums in three months, Toothtaker and Jacob Safari of Wavves will release an EP entirely using Nine Inch Nail samples.
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