By Jeremy Hallock
By James Khubiar
By Observer Staff
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The backpacker hip-hop set, meanwhile, try as it might—and with great efforts to boast of, thanks to Damaged Good$, Sore Losers, Dustin Cavazos and others—has had trouble gaining traction of its own.
For Tum Tum, that isn't a problem. He's in between. Always has been. He's a rapper from the streets, for the streets.
Up until now, at least.
"Hopefully," he says, "this will reach a broader audience. That's all I'm about now. I've been with the street crowds a whole lot. Now I'm trying to do House of Blues, know what I'm saying? I'm trying to do something different."
Purp Kobain should afford Tum Tum that opportunity. The Play-N-Skillz-produced "Smoke Something," which, unlike the rest of the mixtape, actually features a Nirvana sample (in the form of the recognizable "Smells Like Teen Spirit" guitar riff), practically begs for incessant radio play—even if its subject matter inherently will prevent it. Tum Tum's OK with that, though: Mixtapes aren't meant to earn money; they're meant to draw attention from labels and booking agents. Besides, profiting off a Nirvana sample would mean, without question, legal battles.
As always, Tum Tum's staying patient. He's confident that his time, which came once with "Caprice Muzik," will come again. And, besides, just two weeks after Purp Kobain's leak, it looks like his efforts are actually starting to pay off.
"The shows increased when Purp came out," Tum Tum says. "No lie. I'm booked till, like, the end of October so far. I've gotta do some frat parties like next week."
"I love it."
And why not? It's not quite the House of Blues, no. But corporate venues like that one tend to have stringent anti-drug policies anyway.