Two years ago, a group called Villain Park popped up on our radar and after dropping a few singles and one EP, they became one of our favorite new acts. Villain Park had magnetic energy, smart lyricism, unforgettable hooks, and the technical skills to pull it all together. Instead of following the new waves of overblown aggression or melodic sing-songy hip-hop, they made music that sounded timeless. The group carved out their own lane and brought something new to the table, but right after the EP, things got quiet. Just as it felt like Villain Park was on the cusp of breaking through and leveling up, they stopped releasing music.
Today, Villain Park makes their triumphant return with "We Out Here." The group is now a duo now, consisting of Bunge and Smoke, and they sound more focused and better than ever. Listen to "We Out Here" below, and read our interview with Villain Park to get caught up to speed.
First off, can you just introduce yourselves? Who is Villain Park?
Villain Park is Bunge and Smoke. Villain Park is a duo collective from West Los Angeles. Rule breakers. Villains to the normal way of doing things and Villains to the industry.
We covered you guys a bunch in 2015 and you guys were on a roll, but then you seemed to fall off the map for a while before returning with "Regretz" this year. What were you doing during the time off?
Bunge: To be honest, we were ducked off in the studio perfecting our craft and spending a lot of time tapping into more of our creative side. While taking what life was throwing at us, we were able to learn from those encounters which we felt influenced us to go harder.
Smoke: Just prepping for the future. We knew the time was coming where we would have to stand behind our product. So when it was time, there was no getting ready. We were already there.
And you used to be a group, but returned as a duo, right? What happened there?
VP: Collectively everybody was all out for the same thing. We all wanted to make dope music and be successful. It really just came down to the decision and route that we wanted to take to get there. Although there were similar goals, there were still things pulling the vision apart. Things took a different direction, and got rerouted from there.
How old are you guys?
VP: Both 21 years of age
The Villain Park sound is so different from what a lot of young rappers are making these days. Is that a conscious choice, or are you just making the music you like?
Bunge: I think it's for sure intuitive. It's not us trying to make the music sound a specific way, but a certain feeling we have that's true to us.
Smoke: I agree, I feel like it's a natural feeling and nothing is being forced. We take our time with our music and perfect it to where we feel it needs to be, naturally.
Do you have any thoughts on so-called "mumble rap" or "SoundCloud rap"?
Bunge: I don't think that there is such a thing. I think a lot of young artists of this generation are too busy chasing the contemporary sound of today instead of finding their own.
Smoke: I agree with Bunge, even though some of that shit is catchy—I can't lie. But you gotta give most of the credit to the producers that create the vibe that the people are attracted to. Still, much love to the upcoming artists that use SoundCloud to get their music heard because that's where a lot of artists built their platform.
Who did you grow up listening to, and who are your main influences?
Smoke: Growing up to name a few, I heard a lot of Isley Brothers, Delfonics, Jackson 5, Frankie Beverly & Maze, Zapp & Roger, & Parliament Funkadelic. My influences are for sure Ice Cube, Outkast, Jay Dee, Suga Free, Roy Ayers, Dr. Dre, DJ Quik, WC & The Maad Circle, Dogg Pound, UGK, & Tha Eastsidaz. Keep it real, I get into the production first before I get into the artist.
Bunge: The Gap Band, Curtis Mayfield, Marvin Gaye, and Barry White were the main artists I heard my mom play growing up. I heard a lot of Teddy Pendergrass too. My main influences are Pac, Eminem, Hov, 50 Cent and G-Unit, Kanye, Ludacris, Logic, and Kendrick Lamar for sure.
Do you guys enjoy the scene out in LA, or keep mostly to yourselves? Are there other West Coast artists who you'd like to work with if you haven't already?
Bunge: We enjoy the scene when we do go out. Hit up a couple local events from time to time it's cool.
Smoke: The scene is dope out here you just gotta hit the right events. I like peeping the new up and coming artists just to see what's cooking. You just gotta watch out for them sharks out here. They'll do whatever it takes to get what they want and I respect that. But when mothafuckas start moving foul and shady? That's out.
VP: It woud be dope to work with K-Dot, Nipsey Hussle, Anderson .Paak, Suga Free, DJ Quik, Terrace Martin, Battle Cat, and for sure Dr. Dre.
I remember last year Earl Sweatshirt shouted you out. How did that come up? Did you ever connect with him?
VP: So K Solar is the man that engineered and mixed the Same Ol' Shit EP. He went to middle school with Earl back in the day. I think Earl must've heard of us through the grapevine or something like that and peeped Solar had something to do with it and gave us a shout. We never got to connect, but it would be dope to make something happen in the future.
Are you still independent? Do you plan to keep it that way or are you open to label deals?
VP: Yup, we are still independent and will continue moving that way until we're satisfied with the right accommodation that's beneficial for our situation.
Can you tell us a little about this latest single "We Out Here"?
VP: It's a statement, it's a anthem, and it's for the people. This is for all the hustlers out there. From the corners to the downtown buildings waking up early everyday with a motive. We ain't inside and we damn well ain't hiding from shit. We out here pushing because we got something to be ambitious about and a goal to reach. While y'all inside we outside striving to be successful and we know we not alone. That's why this is for the people.
WE OUT HERE.
What's next for Villain Park? What do you guys have coming up in the near future, and what's the long-term goal?
VP: More music, more shows, more visuals, and most importantly the album. Our future is in God's hands. Our long term goal is to leave a legacy and inspire other people out there to know that you don't have to sound or be like the next person to be heard and get respect for it.
BE YOU AND FUCK WHAT ANYBODY ELSE GOT TO SAY.