YouTube hip-hop sensations top bill at JJ's Saturday - Sept. 21

YouTube hip-hop sensations top bill at JJ's Saturday - Sept. 21

September 19th, 2013 by Casey Phillips in Chattnow Music

The members of Turquoise Jeep include, from left, Slick Mahoney, Whatchamacallit, Flynt Flossy, Pretty Raheem, Yung Humma and Tummysrach Beats.

Photo by Contributed Photo/Times Free Press.

IF YOU GO

• What: Turquoise Jeep with Flynt Flossy and SoCro

• When: 10 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 21

• Where: JJ's Bohemia, 231 E. M.L. King Blvd.

• Admission: $15

• Phone: 423-266-1400

• Website: www.turquoisejeep.com

It's the rare artist who can keep a straight face during a euphemism-heavy concert that includes songs that liken having sex to getting cavities, making pie, eating yogurt and being a pirate. Also, being a naughty farmer because ... why not?

Although they say they never set out to write music that is out-and-out hilarious, the videos by transcontinental hip-hop/R&B collective Turquoise Jeep are often chuckle-worthy -- full of slick, old-school dance moves, catchy beats, witty rhymes and fake hair that is as big as it is ridiculous.

It's not quite "Flight of the Conchords," but at times it comes close.

"Sometimes, reality is funny to people," says group co-founder Flynt Flossy, whose songs are inspired by down-to-earth subjects like the need to dance or his relationships.

"We just make it, and however our audience takes it, they take it, and we're fine with it."

Turquoise Jeep is the collective name for Flossy, fellow co-founder Whatchyamacallit and frequent collaborators Pretty Raheem and Yung Humma. Saturday, Turquoise Jeep will perform at JJ's Bohemia alongside local artist SoCro.

In 2008, Whatchyamacallit and Flossy -- each of whom was a performer in his own right -- saw the potential of YouTube as an outlet for reaching new fans and focused their efforts at building a following online.

The decision to carve out a name for themselves through clever songwriting and polished, if still home-brewed, videos quickly bore fruit. After one of their earliest videos, "Fried or Fertilized," began receiving airplay, the group released "Lemme Smang It" in October 2010. The video quickly went viral and, to date, has been viewed 11.4 million times.

"That was kind of instantaneous, really," Flossy recalls. "Within a month or two, it skyrocketed."

Since then, the band has uploaded dozens of videos, including a pair of dance tutorials starring Flossy to satisfy the legions of fans who begged him to teach them his moves.

"Personally, I didn't think people were going to take a liking to my dancing as much," he says, laughing. "I'm a real down-to-earth, humble dude, and I didn't realize they were going to go crazy over that moonwalk."

In January 2011, after a year of being primarily online, the band made its live debut in Atlanta as an opener for Big Boi. By April, the musicians were headlining their own shows, many of which were sell-outs.

Making the transition from a digital stream to a physical stage required some reorienting of their mental gears, Flossy admits, but they've been reassured by the reception to their high-energy performances. Fans, he says, should "be sweating" by the time they leave a venue, and he doesn't care if it's from dancing along, laughing or both.

"As long as they feel good, that's all that matters," Flossy says. "As long as they had a party with us, as long they had fun."

Contact Casey Phillips at cphillips@timesfreepress.com or 423-757-6205. Follow him on Twitter at @PhillipsCTFP.