Few figments of internet mythos can boast the longevity that Houston emcee Viper has enjoyed since quietly uploading his cult-solidifying fourth mixtape effort, You’ll Cowards Don’t Even Smoke Crack, to YouTube in the spring of 2013. Quickly garnering attention on the merit of its dizzily hypnagogic production and the yawned non-sequiturs that populated these congested soundscapes, the record and its haphazard cover art (centering on a poorly-scanned rendering of Viper’s iconic smirk) have remained memetic staples in the internet’s more absurd stomping grounds, with little indication of losing their relevance anytime soon.
Releasing nearly 365 albums over the course of 2014, Viper’s outsider prolificity trumps even the obsessive output of Daniel Johnston and Wesley Willis in terms of sheer numbers. Despite a shared superhuman work ethic and lack of regard for traditional mixing and mastering techniques, though, his discography defies comparison to the art brut peers he is so often lumped with. Sonically, Viper might fit more nicely on a playlist flanked by R. Stevie Moore and John Maus: propelled by oppressive masses of undulating bass, You’ll Cowards… is a codeine-purple lava lamp housing vaporous synths, noodly melodies snaking their way past tides of coarse Major-7th chords and occasional bursts of static that tickle one’s inner ear like the machine-administered puff of air your optometrist uses to test for glaucoma at the start of your checkup.
“I’m actually a member of an organization that deals with cryogenics,” Viper stated in a 2015 interview with eargrub.com. Whether or not his hopes of being resuscitated post-mortem come to fruition, at least his physical legacy is insured in cassette form. Thanks to CHAMBER 38 RECORDS, revelatory verses like “my brain has got my eyes on hold / I look down, all I see is shining bright gold / I hold above my eyes” may now receive the immortalization in magnetic tape that they deserve.
Day 6.I havemastered theharness of death wit my mind.The harness is now a coward that's afraid 2 kill me.10daysno problem.Goin for15 daysnow
— Viper (@RapperViper) April 5, 2016