By: Tommy “T-Rod” Rodriguez
Jalopy Bungus is out to make a statement.
An Arizona hip-hop artist with a flair for the dark and dissonant, Sir Bungus is one of the best voices working in the underground right now. With a mixture of tension, brutal honesty, and great beat selection, his catalogue speaks for itself. With tracks like “Gaara” and albums like Samson under his belt, his history shows that he’s here for more than just a quick cash grab: he has a message, a voice that is entirely his. In short, Jalopy Bungus is an anti-hero in the best ways possible, mixing conscious lyrics and horror in a potent poison that gets your mind working and the bass bumping…traits that are perfectly exemplified by his latest track, the political “J Cole & NoName.”
In a post-2020 election world, “J Cole & NoName” is exceptionally powerful. While the title makes mention to the brief feud between famed rappers J. Cole and NoName, the track dives into the deeper political implications of said election, with the 2020 pandemic sprinkled throughout. The track, upon first listen, is terrifying: Bungus’s monotone delivery is accentuated exceptionally by the thumping bass and synthetic drums, creating a musical void that brings the focus to Bungus’s lyrics. The backing screams of the chorus, damn near punk in execution, are eye-widening, resembling the voices of the oppressed that Bungus speaks for in his songwriting. In terms of aesthetic, the track is a nightmare, simultaneously heavy and thoughtful in its noisiness and shadowy qualities.
But nothing can match the performances that Jalopy Bungus and the ever-great Quelle Chris bring to the table.
Off the bat, Bungus’s imagery is stark, violent. As he tackles the flaws of high-profile politicians involved in the 2020 election, he performs the role of the conscious rapper effectively, raising questions about the system that the oppressed lived in. His fears of being pulled over are described in heartbreaking and skin-crawling detail: as he gets pulled over, Bungus raps “First thing I think: wife gon’ be a widow/Third thing I think: I’m probably finna get a ticket.” His perspective is genuinely cinematic and informative, informing listeners on what it’s truly like to be a member of a deeply flawed community. As he raps about the prison system and his own personal struggles, Bungus never minces his words. His verbage is on the nose, but in the best way possible…this is a message that many cannot understand, and it is through his delivery that it can be digested and internalized. It is truly a terrible situation, but few can make it so palpable. Thankfully, Jalopy Bungus is one of those few. With this first verse, as well as his surprisingly catchy hook, he stakes his claim as one of the best names running around the underground right now.
Quelle Chris, naturally, continues the quality and adds for a nice ending to the track. His verse, while short, works well as a compare and contrast test to Bungus’s. Chris’s storytelling is more scattershot and absurdist, but still potent in its social commentary. He rides the beat exceptionally, mentioning corrupt police, Tik-Tok, Karens, and games of limbo as cynical references to the 2020 pandemic and protests. Of course, his greatest asset is his dark comedy, but he manages to keep the seriousness of the track in the undercurrents of his bars, making for a solid ending to an already enthralling track.
I won’t lie, this song is very much the best description of 2020’s worst characteristics: oppression, societal collapse, and general unease were felt by many who fell beneath the harsh grip of this world. Tracks like this are important: not just because they go hard, not just because they are well-written and memorable, but because they give perspective. Jalopy Bungus and Quelle Chris did more than just pop off on a great beat: they brought an important message that we should all remember as we try to improve the world in 2021.
Keep watching Jalopy Bungus…he’s going to do something special!
Stream “J Cole & Noname” Below!
Special thanks to Jalopy Bungus and his team for sending us this song to feature!
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