• You’ll Cowards Don’t Even Smoke Crack

The other day I was introduced to the work of Viper, a Houston-based rapper who’s been picking up a little bit of online notoriety over the past few weeks, mostly due to message board users attempting to bring him to meme status. There’s not a whole lot of info out there on this oddball hip-hop artist (real name Lee Carter), and by doing some online research, the biggest discovery I made was probably that I have way too much time on my hands. He doesn’t have too big of an Internet presence outside of his fairly active Twitter account, a seemingly forgotten YouTube channel (home to a couple of incredibly low-budget music videos), and a BBB complaint page giving his moving company an abysmal score, but I was able to figure out that Viper’s been grinding to make it in the game since the mid-aughts, with some of his many, many mixtapes dating back to 2006. Sure, Viper is totally weird and totally hilarious, but after sitting down with his songs for the past few days, I’ve come to learn that Viper is also totally great. I’m also pretty sure he totally loves smoking crack.

Today’s 12 O’Clock Track is “You’ll Cowards Don’t Even Smoke Crack,” off Viper’s mixtape of the same name. The airy, minimal production (which sort of sounds like an ethereal Casio keyboard demo) and his clunky wordplay (boasts of hard-core drug use delivered in an ultrasubdued baritone) make for a sort of Shaggs-meets-Wesley Willis outsider-artist genius. People on the Internet are initially drawn to Viper because of his blatant disregard for grammar, outrageously violent and drugcentric lyrics, and how sonically bizarre he is in general, but speaking for myself, after a couple giggly listen-throughs of “You’ll Cowards,” I found myself jamming to the entire mixtape front to back, over and over, for pretty much this entire week.