CityBeat: Stuntdouble & Tenshun are middle-class heroes

Stuntdouble & Tenshun

Photo: Star In The Sky Photography

I wrote this about Stuntdouble & Tenshun for CityBeat this week. I guess it turned out to be more about Stuntdouble but it’s cool, I’ll probably write about Tenshun or Skrapez eventually unless Peter beats me to it. And yes, Rangerbob is a better man than me: I snuck in one white rapper joke.

Anyway, something I didn’t get to fit into the article was the balance Stuntdouble strikes in his writing. It’s kinda hard to describe, but yeah it’s just cool how he can write about stuff in a non-corny way when other rappers would take the same concept and turn their song into Nebraska fields. For example, Stuntdouble’s idea of rapping about San Diego is to criticize the city’s over-powered tourism industry. Compare that to however many songs you may have heard on KUSI Morning News about San Diego Charging the groceries to my debit card or whatever.

You know the drill. Snippet below, full article here.

Bob Surratt’s spacious Rolando house looks like it’s been ripped out of a family sitcom. He and his wife, Zar, are first-time homeowners, having moved in last year with their 2-year-old daughter, Paige. The living room features elegant, minimalist décor, and sunlight pours in through several large windows. In the backyard sits a behemoth of a child’s play set—a slide, swing and rock-climbing wall, all part of a tree house that would make Chuck E. Cheese scurry away into his hole.

It’s not a strange sight unless you know that Surratt makes hip-hop, a genre predicated on coming from the bottom to the top. Many rappers take great pride in going from rags to riches, using their struggle to flaunt their success. But what do rappers do when they go from rags to the middle class?

For Surratt, who performs as Stuntdouble, his answer is to take on local politics. In his music with Tenshun, a local producer and DJ, he offers his own alternative to the sunny vision of San Diego represented by that oft-repeated slogan, “America’s Finest City.” But far from hard-boiled gangster rap, it’s an alternative that represents his working-class background.

“I’m just trying to talk about our hometown in a way that’s appropriate for me, for who I am—mid- 30s, white guy, entering middle class,” Stuntdouble tells CityBeat.

It Came From The 85H8: Stuntdouble & Tenshun – Pay Us A Visit EP

Stuntdouble & Tenshun - Pay Us A Visit EP

Rangerbob puts the H8 in 85H8. He goes in on the new EP, Pay Us A Visit, from Tenshun and the other Bob.

I first came across Stuntdouble & Tenshun at a hip-hop show at a skate shop in the middle of the night. Half the acts didn’t show up because their vehicle broke down in a different town. These dudes proceeded with the show anyway after a lengthy freestyle session with some local greats. Tenshun performed turntable gymnastics and Stuntdouble took to the crowd with a demanding fury, with tales of stolen military equipment and chaos. With that experience in mind and the knowledge of some of a Stuntdouble’s artistic interests and the fact that Tenshun gets unapologetically abstract with the group Skrapez, I knew their new EP, Pay Us A Visit, would be worth listening to. Read more of this post

Dimitri & Stuntdouble ft. Bobby Tallcans – Menace To Sobriety

Finals are over! Two weeks before the next session starts! Let’s fcking blog!

I guess this probably would’ve made more sense to the world if I posted it right before St. Patrick’s Day. But it didn’t make as much sense to my finals. Anyway, who the hell needs a holiday for alcohol raps and funky-ass samples though? Like the previous joint, Stuntdouble does this very Stuntdoubly thing of sticking super tight to a lighthearted concept while Dimitri lays down that fuuuuuuuuunk.

I gotta say though, I’m halfway disappointed that “Bobby Tallcans” isn’t a hillbilly parody persona. Because I live in Clairemont where hillbillies are all too real. And I also always kinda dreamed of Devin The Dude doing a full album of “Reefer and Beer“.

DJ Dimitri & Stuntdouble – My Knee Hurts

Man, Stuntdouble writes about the weirdest shit sometimes. Like this dude seriously wrote a song about trying to write a song while his knee’s hurting. It’s on some Nicholson Baker shit where he takes the most mundanest topic and writes about it in excruciating detail.

Beat’s hard as hell, sounds like a hybrid kung-fu/Western showdown. More coming soon (hopefully?) from Dimitri & Stuntdouble.

Stuntdouble & Tenshun – Pay Us A Visit

Stuntdouble & Tenshun “Pay Us A Visit

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Stuntdouble continues to pay homage to San Diego in non-corny fashion, challenging the vision of SD set forth by the tourism industry. Funky beat and cuts by Tenshun. Beard grooming by Bob.

Stuntdouble & Tenshun are performing at SK8BOX on Adams Ave., one of my personal favorite venues. It’s cramped, real punk-like. It’s going down on April 28th, which I know is the same night as the Moderfire Birthday/Benefit show. But if you can somehow make it to both, that’d be cool. Check the flyer after the jump. Read more of this post

Access Sez So: Album Review: Stuntdouble & Tenshun – The Ballad of Shawn T. Nelson EP

Wes has been locked in his basement listening to this 7-inch and writing the great American novel a review. Now, he’s back with a vengeance.

Just a few a months ago, one of my favorite San Diego releases of the year dropped with a bang! And while it’s just a 7-inch EP with a mere four tracks, it’s a little release that had big things to say!

After their last album, Don’t Have to be Drunk To Tell the Truth, was released back in 2007, Stuntdouble and DJ/Producer Tenshun continued to perform locally, maintaining their presence around San Diego’s underground scene. Tenshun, as a solo act, has worked steadily on pushing out releases independently and through several other indie labels as a following of fans of his drum heavy production continues to grow. Stuntdouble remains equally busy juggling back and forth between school, work and family life, recording songs between releases, sometimes with other producers. Unfortunately, as the years passed, the material and the hours put into said sessions had become all but an afterthought for the emcee, and sadly those tracks may never see the light of day. Over the years, I would see both artists here at Access, and I’d always be eager to hear anything new and if they would at least hint at another release together. Finally, after a few delays over the summer in which the plates to press the brand new EP on vinyl were denied due to sampling issues, their long talked about return is here!

Stuntdouble didn’t set out to make an EP about how “fine” his city is with some half-assed anthems your friends can chant the words to at house parties. “Welcome to San Diego. Now go home.” These words are printed directly on the label of the record itself and this pretty much sets the tone for the rest of the EP. The Ballad of Shawn T. Nelson is a release filled with political connotations and the social commentary fans have come to expect from the fire-bearded and equally hot-tempered emcee. It’s aimed specifically at life in San Diego, from the perspective of the average citizen, and not some pamphlet-pushing tour guide who can’t wait to lure visitors on a tour bus to “America’s Finest City,” as it is so affectionately dubbed by the media. As an outsider myself, living in various neighborhoods amongst this city’s inhabitants for the last ten years, “America’s Finest City” is a term that definitely feels outdated. Read more of this post

Stuntdouble – Odd Complex

Odd Complex by stuntdouble

Not sure how many times I’ve played this and it’s still going over my head. I think the woman Stuntdouble raps about represents hip-hop. And then Stuntdouble himself (or the narrator, in any case) is confused whether he’s a slave to her or if she’s giving him god-like power or both. Or maybe he becomes her slave because she tricks him into believing he’ll have god-like power. But he’s really the “pantomime in a pinebox”–that is, he’s a dead puppet with no real voice. And I think there’s a GZA reference in there (“basic instructions” = “B.I.” from “B.I.B.L.E.?”). Which is to say, we’re all gonna die for hip-hop because hip-hop is a manipulative bitch. Or something.

The Castlevania music helps me repeat the song painlessly though, not mad about that (actually, I swear I’ve heard that sample in Naruto or something). And those drums, cotdamn those drums …… I’m assuming production by Tenshun?

Stuntdouble ft. Parker and the Numberman – Any Given Sunday

Any Given Sunday by stuntdouble

I guess Parker didn’t make the cut for Blvck Bvstvrds? So he takes out his fury on Stuntdouble, 1019, and Tenshun.

Third Degree Burns “Best of SD Guests” Show

“TDB” Best Of San Diego’s Guests DJThirdRailLooks1 8 25 11 by DJThirdRaiLLooksFresh

Please don’t bother me for the next three hours. I am listening to nothing but San Diego hip-hop for that timespan. Check the playlist after the jump, it will kinda blow your mind. Read more of this post

Stuntdouble – El Guapo x Diss Me

Stuntdouble “El Guapo” [prod. Tenshun]

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Stuntdouble “Diss Me

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I first heard “El Guapo” when I snuck in on this hella underground event at Portugalia a few months ago. It struck me at first just because the crowd got into it. More than a few people were tugging their beards up towards Stuntdouble in laughter. Listening to it now, I like it because it’s funny without going overboard into cornball territory. Tenshun’s Southern-fried funky beat helps, of course. But Stuntdouble’s definitely got a knack for self-deprecating humor. You can hear it again on “Diss Me” though he flips it into more of an Atmosphere-ish style on this song.

“El Guapo” comes from Don’t Have To Be Drunk To Tell The Truth which may never again see the light of day depending on Stuntdouble’s chip stack so tough break if you were trying to get a copy (yeah, I’m assed out too). But he is working on new material with Tenshun. Hopefully, we’ll hear back soon.