Our homie Kung Fu Vampire is performing tonight in Spartanburg, South Carolina, and their local paper wrote a pretty dope article about him and his full live band (Chris Paxton and Jeremy Pollett) in preparation for the show!
At the time I’m posting this, it’s definitely too late for you to head out to Ground Zero to see tonight’s show. But there are still plenty more dates to catch on his tour with Locksmith which continues all the way through July 15th!
In this article from GreenvilleJournal.com, they give a brief summary of KFV’s career and image changes. The journalist compares KFV’s music to if Eminem and Black Sabbath created their own genre. Pretty high praise! Check out the full article below!
The more superficial trappings are probably the first things you’ll notice about the music of San Jose, Calif., rapper Kung Fu Vampire.
If there’s such a thing as goth-rap, he’s one the best in the genre, stringing together exaggerated horror stories, mock-operatic synths, and exploding electronic beats. It’s as if Eminem and Black Sabbath got together and created their own genre.
But listen more closely and you’ll hear one of the most dazzling flows of any modern rapper.
Vampire spits his lines at seemingly impossible speed on just about every track on his most recent album, “Look Alive,” bobbing and weaving around the music like a boxer in his prime. In terms of sheer momentum, it’s an album-length adrenaline rush.
That skill at top speed comes from the fact that in his teens, rather than emulating the rappers of the day, Kung Fu Vampire (who doesn’t disclose his real name) learned to rap over instrumental drum-and-bass tracks, a revved-up style of EDM that was popular in the mid-1990s. Learning to think quickly over the style’s skittering beats helped him become a razor-sharp, fast-thinking MC.
“It’s interesting, because that drum-and-bass style wasn’t really a musical influence on me,” he says. “But it helped me get that kind of double-time shift in my delivery. I was always a fast talker, anyway.”
Early on, he married that whiplash style with the horror-show look of Marilyn Manson and Insane Clown Posse, piling on the freakish makeup and colored contacts but keeping his hair close-cropped.
Over the course of more than a decade, he stayed in that character, delivering three studio albums of shock-goth-rap with titles like “Bloodbath Beyond,” “Dead Sexy,” and “Love Bites” and building a rabid cult following, touring with everyone from Tech N9ne and Twiztid to the king juggalos themselves, ICP.
But between 2012 and 2016’s “Look Alive,” he began relying a lot less on the visual aspect of his music and more on his dazzling, inventive technique. “After my daughter was born, I grew my hair out for the first time,” he says. “And I’ve never painted my face again since she was born. I wanted to try something different once I had a kid.”
The cover for “Look Alive” featured a dressed-down Kung Fu Vampire driving a stake through the heart of his old persona. And the music has changed a bit, as well. Not that you can’t still find horror-rap stompers like “She’s a Villain” and “Bollywood Undead” on there, but for every one of those tracks, there’s a song like “Cruel,” a melodic track that’s unlike anything he’s done before.
“The more you live life, the more it’ll come out in the music,” he says. “I don’t feel like the ‘Look Alive’ album is lighter, necessarily; it’s got some super-dark tracks on it. But I just think I’ve expanded as a human being. And it might have more of a melodic bounce to it, but even when we try to make a happier song, it ends up being about sadomasochism or something like that. It gets a kind of twisted vibe to it.”
Onstage, there’s one thing that hasn’t changed about Kung Fu Vampire: He’s been performing with a live rhythm section, bassist Jeremy Pollett and drummer Chris Paxton, since he began his career in 1996.
“We are a live band,” he says. “I’ve personally never liked the karaoke aspect of hip-hop. I didn’t like the MCs that just have a DJ, or they’d be up there lip-syncing. I feel like that if we’re going to drive all these miles for a show, we should be giving you something different than what’s on the record, something you can only get in person.”