So tell me about the name of the new record, Illuminati Thug Mafia?
It’s kinda like the unseen terrible, you know what I mean. All these things have a negative mythology to them. At the same time these organizations, you know that none of us completely know, have their own culture individually. You hear Illuminati, you hear thug, you hear mafia you kind of dismissed it instantly, or at least a degree where you prepare what the the fuck you’re gonna hear. You already prepare yourself to already not believe it, take it with a grain of salt. In a way combine all three of those and it kind of like it’s some real super power, the ultimate fucking ridiculousness.
I went to the Getty recently, and saw an exhibit of illuminated manuscripts. The friend of a family friend of a friend curated the show and strings were pulled to convince her to come down and walk us through the show. We learned a lot like: a tapestry is often hung with velcro. We learned that being an ancient manuscripts courier is kind of a sweet gig because one always flies business class and gets an extra seat for the ancient manuscript being delivered.
So we were looking through old books that functioned as works of history but made no distinction between real events and myths. And, sure, I was aware of this. What hadn’t really registered with me, though, is the idea that it’s not that the folks in the Middle Ages didn’t know any better. They simply didn’t care. The concept of history once had a broader definition, and it was able to include myth. It invited myth under its umbrella, in fact, because it liked the way myth braided with history to make meaning in the lives of people*. And now all that myth-making exists on the margins of the discipline called “history” with the conspiracy theorists.
Usually when I’m on Youtube, I’m watching someone talk about Luciferians. Or Reptilians. Or the moon landing. Or Mars. (Face on mars, schmace on Mars, people. Tell me more about the glass tunnels!) I’m watching people talk about the conspiracy—the grand global conspiracy that is keeping them all down.
And what I love about all of it is how elaborate it gets. How deep they—the theorists—think the rabbit hole goes. How epic (and filmic) their interior lives seem to be. And for a group of sort of paranoid folks, they are also quite optimistic. Spend enough time watching the videos to the end, and you will see a call to action, a call to uprising, a call to togetherness. “We’re all in this together and all we need to do is tell everybody. And when everybody knows, we will win.”
There’s this new record by Isaiah Toothtaker. And instead of asking everyone to get together and fight against the secret world, it seems to embrace it. Toothtaker has a knack for obsessively iterating. It’s the key to the aesthetic of his Tumblr blog. Something occurs to him, and he finds a dozen images or videos. And sometimes he takes the images and makes them his own**. (Search for the page of pictures of Bushwick Bill, for example. The Kennedy Assassination. The huge number of Illuminati Thug Mafia Michael Jackson images. They’re in there, waiting between the Machina Muerte crew hype and the live show images.)
Occult just means “secret.” To study the occult is to spend one’s time looking for secrets and revealing them. An approach to that kind of research is the obsessive gathering of images or texts or sounds, a search for the similarities in dissimilar things, a grand unifying of your sources. And now, a ten minute Youtube video about Masonic Hand Signs:
And sometimes you fight the occult. And sometimes you make the occult your own.
Here’s a takeaway: Illuminati Thug Mafia is a damn fine record. It’s a kind of dark electro-punk hip hop record that mashes together a huge number of pop cult and cult culture sources—Pink Floyd, the Bed Intruder song as down by a marching band, occult/Illuminati/Satanic music researcher Jordan Maxwell—into a cohesive thesis statement for a sure-to-be interesting career. It stands above his last collection Yiggy because it remains consistent song to song. (Yiggy had some really fine tracks. ITM is just better, start to finish.) Isaiah has the ability to modulate the way he flows, pushing his voice to its edges—seemingly to the last syllables available to his lungs sometimes—to play with the tone, and he raps high and fast or low and slow to fuck with the mood. I’m particularly fond of and often find myself re-listening to “Intruder,” (the one that samples the marching band), “Animal Planet” with Rheteric Ramirez, and the really treacherous-sounding creep-out “Crimekillz x Humansuit” track that closes the record. And MURS is all over the place, too. So that’s a plus.
* “People” with access to and the ability to read books being a narrow group acknowledged.
** I’m fairly certain he does a lot of his own design work. There’s a continuity between the image treatments, some of the videos, and his quite active twitter feed.