Welcome to the psychedelic strip club. DEMON QUEEN aren’t just the architects, they’re the clients too. Their Exorcise Tape is sleazy, filthy, and violently funky. The liquor is cold, the entertainment gets low, the Pioneer speakers are broken, and the light is dim but somehow blinding.
DEMON QUEEN is the union of TOBACCO of Black Moth Super Rainbow and Zackey Force Funk. Trading files between Pittsburg and Tucson, the pair hatched a fittingly demonic and willfully fresh sound. Every new group tries to claim they belong to no genre, but it’s impossible to neatly categorize Exorcise Tape in your iTunes library. It’s part hip hop, part aerobic neon fun, part fucked up experimental fusion, and part Prince.
“I just had a major breakup with an ex and the strip club near me was taken over by a graffiti writer friend of mine – so I was spending a lot of time there. It’s famous in Tucson. People were shot there. Police busted it for prostitution. It’s cleaned up a little,” Zackey Force Funk explains the origins of the project. “The record is really about satanic stripper shit, prisons, and the strip on 29th Street in Tucson.”
Titles are vivid and tawdry. “Lamborghini Meltdown” sounds like it was recorded to soundtrack a rack city ritual following a sports car being stripped for parts and sold to finance a forgotten weekend. “El Camino” flips some bars from N.W.A. and transplants them on an old school chassis, cruising the strip with hydraulics and cheap hemp.
“I got a lot of people pushing me to work with rappers, but you can imagine what that’s gonna sound like before it happens and that makes me ADD out. Zackey was the cure for my ADD,” says TOBACCO, who produced the entirety of the record. “It was the first time I forced myself to step back a little, but it was maybe the easiest album I’ve ever been a part of. It just flowed.”
If you’ve listened to his solo work or Black Moth Super Rainbow’s scarred pop, you know that TOBACCO could never make a straightforward rap record. DEMON QUEEN has more in common with the Beck of Mellow Gold and Midnite Vultures or Gonjasufi and The Gaslamp Killer’s guillotine croons. Zackey Force Funk alternates between eerie falsettos and murmured come-ons. It could be the permanent soundtrack for Suicide Girls or OGs raised on Zapp and Roger.
Other rappers come up for nose bone-cracking backup, including Zackey’s Machina Muerte crewmates Isaiah Toothtaker, Chuck Steaks, and N8NOFACE. The drums are gritty, the synthesizers glow like spiked punch, and the raps are rugged. Best listened to while sweating out evil spirits or sins. Remember to tip.