Few musicians can claim to have released nearly an album a day for the past three years, and having released prior work to that as early as 2006. Among the very few, if any, around the world that have as many “albums” behind them, almost none of them can say they have one masterpiece in their midst. Enter the world of Lee Carter, most know him as Viper. In 2008 he quickly gained acclaim after the release of his 2008 mix tape ‘You’ll Cowards Don’t Even Smoke Crack’. Given its unusual album cover and title, he soon gained infamy. Many learned of him, but few sat down to actually listen to the masterpiece hidden right before their eyes. Almost a decade after its release, I took another look at this classic record. I first heard about Viper my junior year of high school, to say this mix tape shaped my year and changed my life, wouldn’t be an understatement. All I talked about for weeks was Viper. I showed everyone I knew his music. Of all his music, the only two albums that really hit me hard were ‘These Rappers Claim They Hard When Them Fags Never Even Seen the Pen’ and of course ‘You’ll Cowards Don’t Even Smoke Crack’. When I first heard the album, I didn’t know what to expect. I was blown away with the lo-fi beat that picks up instantly upon pressing play woven into Lee Carter’s echoing cackle.
Here’s a little something for you bustlers
This modesty was definitely satire on Vipers behalf, because he wasn’t just about to give us “bustlers” a “little something”. He was about to change my life. Much of Vipers music serves as a call out to the rap industry and posers far and wide, the opening title track of this album is a perfect representation of who Viper is. Presenting a complete disregard for anyone who hasn’t walked the talk, and anyone unfamiliar with the streets. Viper blends his verses with a lo-fi mix most comparable to vaporwave. Fuck the haters, posers and everyone in between. If you’ll havent smoked crack, then you’ll haven’t bustled like Lee. The vaporwave theme continues throughout the entire mixtape and much of vipers work, but Viper gives it his all on this record. Never before had Viper demonstrated his true talent. Having played the piano since the age of 6, Lee’s life has always revolved around music and it’s obvious upon hearing ‘You’ll Cowards Don’t Even Smoke Crack’. It feels as if Viper pioneered an entire genre. Today there are many lo-fi hip hop acts that clearly take influence from Viper. Most notable are: Lil Ugly Mane, Death Grips, and Danny Brown. Vipers lyrics and bars were vulgar, his album titles were heavy hitting, and his art was inspiring, who could blame them? ‘You’ll Cowards Don’t Even Smoke Crack’ came out of nowhere, taking the internet by storm, forever changing internet rap. To this day Viper has managed to release nearly an album a day every single day since 2014. Many can argue that he is just fucking around but that’s where this mix tape stands apart. Viper slows down, and shows us bustlers a little something. His true talent and passion glide you through this unique listening experience. There is nothing else on Earth like it. Tracks like ‘I Sell Dope Boy’ and ‘I Like The Way’ are some of his most complex and deep songs to date. Its sad to see so much talent washed away by “ironic” fans and infamy. Viper may have a mediocre but dense discography, but ‘You’ll Cowards Don’t Even Smoke Crack’ serves as a testimony to what Viper can do when he takes time to sit down and write. In words from his closing track on this mix tape, ‘ The Baller Out Your Best Side’,
“It me, that baller out the best side. Everything’s cool, and everything’s alright”
Written by Joe Collins.