There has been a growing trend, pulled off successfully by just a few artists, to mask themselves in the interest of their music’s integrity. In anonymity the artists hope to make it more about the music than themselves — a noble raison d’etre to be sure. Anyway, I feel this is a particularly pertinent subject in light of Bear Grillz’ decision to reveal his identity on The Jerry Springer Show today.
With a soundcloud following of nearly sixty thousand and a twitter following exceeding twenty thousand, Bear Grillz has certainly made a name for himself before his decision to reveal his identity on the show. While on the Paradox tour he has sold out fifty-one consecutive shows, with the help of Excision and Figure, according to the bear himself on Jerry Springer today. Perhaps this is why he is more comfortable doing it. He’s collaborated with the likes of Datsik, Getter, ETC!ETC!, and 12th Planet, while still releasing a good amount of original content. He most recently released an EP hilariously titled Mo Honey Mo Problems, an obvious Notorious B.I.G. spinoff. Check out his unmasking as well as a couple of funny videos of the bear that show that he’s, well, just a normal bear.
Bear Grillz, who you now know is a dude named RJ, has big plans for the future. Check out this tweet talking about his ambitions for the upcoming year. I can only hope, though he isn’t scheduled at this time, that he’ll make an appearance at one of the festivals I’m attending this summer (all would be appropriate considering their proximity to the wilderness).
Other notable masked sensations include the originator of trap, (as an electronic genre) UZ, a grimy masked bloke from the UK, Funtcase, and Marshmello, which is, yes, a man dressed as a giant marshmallow.
UZ is perhaps the most notable of those, though, the others have garnered some acclaim in recent years. UZ defined a genre, or at least sensationalized and integrated trap music into electronic. Trap is, despite some people’s adamant claims, a major factor in the electronic music landscape today. Who is he, though?
Indeed, that is a very good question. And one that has somehow still remained a secret — at least on the internet. It’s someone whose identity has been closely guarded by the cloak of a gold mask, black hat and hoody, as well as a mysterious black shroud covering his nose and mouth. He first gained recognition for his Trap Shit, a series of releases he made in 2012 on Soundcloud, also savvily available for free download. His Soundcloud following notes his OG status in the game at this point at nearly a hundred and eighty thousand followers. He is known for his unwillingness to type in anything but very stylized, special characters — see his facebook page. He’s currently on tour in Australia and will be traveling to China and Europe after that. Hopefully the trap lord will grace us with his presence sometime late summer or early fall.
It has been speculated, and perhaps confirmed, that the recent rise of Marshello correlates directly with the petering out of another artist, Dotcom. This stemmed from the Katie Couric interview with Skrillex in which Sonny answered a phone call and called a man Chris who he later would only refer to as Marshmello.
I nearly witnessed the fluffy treat with an affinity for electronic music this past halloween. I was going to travel to NYC to see Skrillex and Marshmello was set to open for him. However, I was feeling a bit sick, among other things, and didn’t make the three hour one-way trek. I have no doubt that I’ll soon be jiggling to the beats of the chewy, gooey entertainer.
Funtcase is a curiosity of sorts as well. He doesn’t seem to have built up quite as much steam as his masked compadres, but perhaps this is because of the nature of his act. It is definitely associated with a more macabre side of dance music that’s undoubtedly more underground, or even old school than the others. This definitely gives him his own niche, though. Heavily influenced by dubstep, and determined to prove that its not “dead,” Funtcase produces savage, heart-stopping tunes that might capture a piece of your soul forever. He’s a guy who’s been heavily influenced by death metal and feels at home with a harder sound. And so, he has continued on in this fashion, carrying his Neckbreaker Tour across the United States with Dirtyphonics. His identity is known, (James Hazell), but he continues to perform with his mask, which brings to mind Scarecrow from Batman.
That’s all for now,