I recently spent a day with the CMPND boys and haven’t been the same since. With their second LP ‘Long Live the Court’ dropping today, we thought it would be a good time to give a peek into the lives behind the legendary rap gonzos…
8:43PM – CMPND are sound checking ahead of their headline performance at a Brighton nightclub. Wundrop’s mic isn’t working. “Have you tried turning it on?” asks the bar manager-slash-sound engineer. Wundrop spews back “This ain’t our first rodeo, mate!” before diving headfirst into a mess of cables.
9:16PM – 30 minutes later and the boys have produced gold out of a somewhat sorry audio setup. Kema is now getting a haircut directly on the dancefloor as the crowd starts to filter in. Vits is clowning around in the VIP section. Wundrop’s off to smuggle more booze into the venue. CMPND are definitely holding court tonight.
Three years on from their debut mind-bender ‘Eagle Court’, UK rap supergroup CMPND are back with the latest on their wild exploits over eerie production that sounds equal parts horror movie and messy afters (or both, if you listen to the lyrics). Individually some of the most prolific hip hop artists to come out of Brighton in recent memory, and an unstoppable force collectively, ‘Long Live the Court’ is a timely reminder that these Macbethian monarchs deserve their dues.
2:50PM – Earlier that day, CMPND are running their final rehearsal at Wundrop’s place. By which I mean they are clowning around again. Somehow, the hook to ‘Pick A Card’ “All I can do is be me when I hold mics” has morphed into “All I can do is be me when I smoke pipes”. Before I could even tell what was happening, all three members had started remixing their own verses to fit this new theme and had pretty much made a completely different song.
Not long after, the boys are discussing antonyms whilst sipping tinnies in a church doorway. Impromptu rhyming games had made a good deal of the day’s activities by this point and I was well out of my depth. Seamlessly transitioning from men-about-town to literary luminaires at the click of a lighter, Kema, Wundrop and Vits had started to come across as the Hunter S. Thompson’s of the rap world, with a daily intake that wasn’t too far off either.
3:45PM – Kema and Vits are frolicking in a small patch of grass opposite Hollingbury industrial estate. Wundrop wanders some distance behind, trying to remember the name of someone he’s forgotten.
It is in this incongruous yet incredible group synergy that CMPND really set themselves apart, with verses from each of the members covering the full spectrum of rap styles and instrumental pockets. “Who’s the best member of CMPND?” is a debate I’ve heard countless times over the years, and, to this date, a consensus has never reached my ears.
Wundrop aka King Long – Double-time, half-time, Wundrizzy moves at his own pace, rattling off hard-hitting truths and transcendental observations in the physical embodiment of no-fucks-given.
Vitamin G aka Kel Shellington– Explosively delivering delicately constructed syllables, Vits’ energy is unmatched, as are his adlibs. I don’t know which vitamins he’s taking but I’m pretty sure they’re giving him an unfair advantage at this point.
Kemastry aka Donald Surfaces – A poet and early hours shaman when not obliterating instrumentals, a verse from Kema somehow incorporates everything I was taught in A-Level English, and everything I was warned against in PSHE.
In a chance mid-piss stream encounter in the Patterns’ toilets, Kema once told me that I had to use at least one word that he didn’t know in this write-up. After much deliberation, I settled on the natural source of 5-HTP ‘Griffonia Simplicifolia’, a chemical CMPND commonly used to treat the comedown after a euphoric trip. I just thought this would be useful knowledge for any listeners of this latest release.
‘Long Live the Court’ has all the makings of a classic project- a cohesive sound, stand-out lyricism, stand-out features and, above all, it oozes character. The court summons you…