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“Patron Us” at Steve Wildsmith

Steve Wildsmith

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Introducing East Tennessee’s own gangsta-rap wizard … no really, he’s a wizard …

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HARRY POTTER AND THE DEATHLY HALLOWS – PART 2Who you gonna call? If you’re Harry Potter ’bout to get f—– up by He-Who-Must-Not-Be-Named, you call up LiL iFFy.

There are rappers, and then there are gangsta rappers. And then there are wizard gangsta rappers. Straight outta the 865, LiL iFFy belongs in the latter category. And given his mad skills, I daresay he’d hold his own in one of those South Central drive-bys/gang wars/turf battles that were so popular in the East Coast-vs.-West Coast beef from a few years back.

A 9mm? Please. That ain’t shit compared to a spell-slinging wand. (No word on whether iFFy’s wand is bejeweled.)

LiL iFFy’s debut single, “Patron Us,” dropped this week. It’s the first song off his debut EP, due later this fall and to be titled “Wandcore.” He’s a mysterious dude, but I managed to track him down via his production team, Dude Source, on location in Chicago with another Knoxville musician, Wil Wright of Senryu. Wright hooked up Dude Source with iFFy, so the story goes; now he’s covering the Pitchfork Music Festival and Dude Source and iFFy are partying in the Windy City.

The dudes in Dude Source are almost as secretive as iFFy is; they decline to give themselves individual names, but they’re adamant about one thing — iFFy is the real deal. This is not a gimmick, nor is it meant to poke fun at the Harry Potter phenomenon or its fans. If anything, iFFy is a guy born of that world and holds writer J.K. Rowling’s books as sacred texts.

“The misconception about wizard rappers is that it’s all witches and galleons (the wizard dollar),” says one Dude Source dude, speaking for iFFy who, he adds, sleeps all day. “I think as he puts more music out, people will see that all the issues that affect American culture also affect the wizarding world. I think it’s going to be a real barrier-breaking release.”

Little is known about iFFy’s origins, other than he’s no Hogwarts graduate. He lays down furious rhymes that are not for the faint of heart; they’re explicit, rough and hardcore. Example: “Black-cloak bastards, blasting casting killing killer curses, but I’m laughing | This is the son of a wizard that got busy with a hippogriff and made a magic baby born to win the f—— Triple-wiz | F— the dark mark and motherf— a Malfoy | Red and yellow, bitch, Gryffindor.”

How big of a Harry Potter acolyte is iFFy? He name-drops such obscure characters as Peter Pettigrew, Rita Skeeter and more, enough that casual fans who haven’t cracked the books will appreciate his approach, and complex enough that hardcore fans will delight in deconstructing his more obscure references.

“We like to think of the Harry Potter world as an allegory; this is real s—,” Dude Source dude says. “The Harry Potter books are pretty accurate; they are the founding document by which we evaluate wizard culture.”

LiL iFFy remains vague about his origins; Dude Source claims he sleeps all day, awakens with portkeys to various clubs and vanishes to party all night. Wright introduced him to Dude Source, who provided the beats; even they have trouble, however, figuring out where he’s coming from.

“He doesn’t offer much; plus he’s a Parselmouth (one who speaks the language of snakes), so it’s hard to tell what he’s talking about sometimes. Usually he only talks about what he wants the beats to do,” Dude Source says. “He even records in Parseltongue, but it comes through the track into English. We don’t know what that’s about.”

It’s about magic, baby. And LiL iFFy is obviously one to carry on the Harry Potter torch, especially now that “Deathly Hallows Part 2″ is opening in theaters, bringing the series to a close in both book and film.

“He’s a real loyalist, and he feels like the books and the movies ended at a perfect time,” Dude Source says. “J.K. Rowling is one of his major influences, so whatever she says goes, as far as he’s concerned. He didn’t want the series to go on forever (any more than she did), but eventually it becomes like a reanimated dead body.”

And now that the shutters have been drawn on Potter’s world, it’s nice to know there’s a wizarding rapper out there who still carries a torch for the rest of us magic-loving muggles.

“Christian evangelists don’t send their books to Jesus; you have to send them out to non-believers,” Dude Source says. “Just putting out first release, he’s trying to get out to the broadest audience possible, especially to those not necessarily familiar with the books but who do like rap music and the films.”

Look for “Wandcore” this fall. In addition, iFFy will collaborate with Knoxville’s Katie and the Bass Drums addressing “muggle world topics” and “Mexican mythology.”

Read more about iFFy on the website where his track first dropped, The Music Slut: Click here.

Download “Patron Us,” by LiL iFFy: Right-click here (choose “Save Target As” or “Save Link As”)

Written by wildsmith

July 15th, 2011 at 9:13 am