Using mystery to draw fans in has been popular in 2012, and with Captain Murphy, the rap game has its latest and greatest mystery. There’s a lot of speculation about who this cartoon-clad captain character actually is. Here’s what we know: we first heard him on Flying Lotus & Earl Sweatshirt’s “Between Friends,” and since then he’s dropped a series of tracks leading up to Duality. Production credits have gone to Flying Lotus, Clams Casino, Samiyam, Teebs, TNGHT, and Just Blaze, with guest spots coming from Earl, Azizi Gibson, and Jeremiah Jae. Our main source of Captain Murphy news has been a twitter feed, although Flying Lotus has posted a fair share of Captain Murphy tweets.
I’m not who u think
— Captain Murphy (@xCaptainMurphyx) July 27, 2012
With the release of Duality behind us, we’ve got to ask the obvious: Who is Captain Murphy? We can’t say for sure, but we have some suspects in mind.
Hit “next” or click the images to see our suspects…
Suspect 1: Flying Lotus
Though Flying Lotus has never rapped under his own moniker, we wouldn’t put it past the mischievous, mercurial producer. Over two years ago, FlyLo tossed a track by an emcee named “Lunchpail” (with a messy, jazzy Samiyam beat sure to conjure images of Madlib getting blunted in the bomb shelter) into a mix he performed for Mary Anne Hobbs’ BBC Radio show.
The rapping on the track is haphazard and pitched up, reminiscent of Madlib’s iconic Quasimoto alter ego, minus a couple octaves. While we certainly won’t claim rumors on a message board to be investigative evidence, this thread (which became inactive almost as quickly as it started) points to FlyLo in disguise, even citing a tweet from the beatmaker that, at very least, winks and nods at Lunchpail, who does not appear to have any other tracks (after an exhaustive Google search):
Suspect 2: Tyler, The Creator
Captain Murphy‘s delivery and flow is extremely Tyler-esque at points. On some lines it’s so similar that you could easily mistake Tyler for the bearded cartoon captain. The dark, twisted content and complete disregard for etiquette is right down Tyler’s alley. “Mighty Morphin’ Foreskin” is a track title that could have easily been born and bred in the strange corners Tyler’s brain. And then there’s Tyler’s affinity trolling; he clearly gets a kick out of pulling one over on unsuspecting victims (remember this?). He already does the alter ego thing with Wolf Haley, so its not so far-fetched for him to sport a third identity as the Captain.
Then again, maybe it’s not Tyler. FlyLo says it’s not.
so glad y’all like that ‘between friends’ no it isn’t tyler on there or any other rapper trying another alias
— Flying Lotus (@flyinglotus) July 24, 2012
Suspect 3: Earl Sweatshirt
Once again, this theory is supported by some eerily similar delivery styles. Yes, a great deal of Captain Murphy’s material sounds like Tyler with a sore throat, but sometimes it doesn’t. Sometimes the delivery switches to something far closer to Earl‘s multisyllabic, densely packed flows. It doesn’t happen as often as the Tyler-esque snippets, but when it happens it would seem that Earl is the man behind the cartooned mask. Speaking of men and masks, Earl’s fondness of DOOM is no secret, and DOOM is pretty much the quintessential rapper when it comes to alter-egos and multiple identities.
Ever since Earl came back from his hiatus, he’s talked about the idea of recreating himself. Earl says he’s grown up a bit, and perhaps a reincarnation as an animated captain would give him a new lease on his rap career.
Then again, maybe it’s not Earl. The Murphy account assures us that he’s not a part of OF.
i think some people are probably gonna be mad as hell when they realize I’m not from OF . oh well.. keep talking. make em follow
— Captain Murphy (@xCaptainMurphyx) November 3, 2012
Suspect 4: Some Dude We Aren’t Familiar With
We all love a good mystery, but that game works best if the reveal is big. As much as many of us would love to hear a new artist rhyming over captivating Flying Lotus production, just imagine how many fans will scratch their head/stroke their chin/jump out of a window/become super apathetic if Captain Murphy ends up just being some random guy that not only fucks with FlyLo, but sounds oddly like FlyLo, Tyler and other rappers? Your Internets will shudder with the magnitude of simultaneous headbutts-to-keyboards that will go down if this ends up being “just some dude.”
If it’s not some completely random dude, it could be a lesser known up-and-comer. One such artist that’s been pointed to is Rejjie Snow, the Irish rapper formerly known as Lecs Luther. Just listen to the voice and the way he says certain words:
And to further raise eyebrows, the MC who’s already changed his name also has the ability to switch up the delivery. You can barely detect the accent on this one:
UPDATE: Rejjie Snow claimed to be Captain Murphy, then revealed he was trolling. Full story on that here.
Suspect 5: Tyler, FlyLo, and Earl… Simultaneously
Or maybe—and this seems to be a strong possibility—it’s a few of the suspects working together. “Mighty Morphin Foreskin” sounds almost schizophrenic at times with some distinct flows seemingly melded together, sometimes even within lines. Tyler’s played around with pitch shifting, and simultaneous artists tweaked, cut, and pasted together would explain these multiple personality flows. Perhaps Captain Murphy is the new realization of EarlWolf, with Flying Lotus manning the production.
The final bit of evidence in this theory comes from and unlikely source, Comedy Central’s Tosh.0. In one episode, Daniel Tosh dons a Captain Murphy shirt and plays a snippet of “Between Friends” as he throws up an image of FlyLo, Tyler, and Earl. We doubt that Tosh grabbed this image himself, so it’s a little suspicious, and you have to wonder if whoever handed him that image knew something that we don’t.
He refers to Captain Murphy as ‘these guys’ which could be him leaking the Captain’s identity, or it could be that Tosh has no idea what he’s talking about.
U think tosh realllllly knows who i am? Hahhahahahhahahahah
— Captain Murphy (@xCaptainMurphyx) October 24, 2012
What do you think? Who is Captain Murphy? Should we even be worrying about it? Or should everybody just shut up and enjoy Duality?
Stop bothering other muhfuckers About my identity. Just listen to the music. Tyler isn’t the only person with a deep voice. fucking idiots
— Captain Murphy (@xCaptainMurphyx) October 17, 2012