May 1 2013 08:19 AM

Hip-hop group is a YouTube sensation

music
Flynt Flossy (third from left) says Flynt Flossy is his real name.
Maybe it's the singer's penetrating, come-hither gaze. Maybe it's his over-the-top dance moves, the way his whole body gyrates like a snake. Maybe it's his tacky, early-'90s getup—his thick headband, rimless glasses, black muscle shirt and single gold earring.

Maybe it's the way he sings all smooth and sexy-like, laying on the seduction extra-thick. Maybe it's the goofy, giggle-inducing wordplay of the lyrics: "Lemme smang it, girl / Smash it and bang."

Maybe it's all of the above. 

What's clear is that "Lemme Smang It," a song and video that stars a handsome singer and MC by the name of Yung Humma, is a hit. Made by the hip-hop group Turquoise Jeep Records, it's racked up more than 10 million views since being posted on YouTube in late 2010.


"If you hashtag ‘smang it,' ‘smang' on Twitter, you'll probably see a lot come up. It's become part of the everyday vernacular for people," says Flynt Flossy, a member of Turquoise Jeep who also appears on the track. "It's probably going to be in the Webster dictionary soon."

Celebrated for their innuendo-laden lyrics, infectious hooks and impressive dance moves, the guys in Turquoise Jeep—Humma, Flossy, Pretty Raheem, Slick Mahony, Tummiscratch and Whatchyamacallit—have built a rabid following. Countless fans have posted tribute videos to the group's own low-budget productions, which lovingly toy with the conventions of old-school hip-hop, R&B and techno.

In all the years Turquoise Jeep's been cranking out videos, they've never made it clear whether they're being serious or not. While they're obviously joking with some songs—their jaunty new tune "Treat Me Like a Pirate" has them singing "Treat me like a pirate / And gimme that booty"—others blur the line between sincerity and hilarity.

"I still don't know if these guys are for real or not," a YouTube user named Rere Pope recently wrote in the comments section of the "Lemme Smang It" video.

Flossy, for his part, is a tough dude to nail down. A rapper, producer and video director with a deep voice and lean dancer's physique, he always sports a fake mustache and goatee. Speaking with CityBeat, he dodges questions about his personal history and insists that Flynt Flossy is his real name.

"Flynt Flossy, born and raised," he says. "I'm like a unicorn, baby. I gotta keep that mystique, you feel me?" Though they're often hilarious, Flossy says they're not explicitly trying to do comedy. They're just being themselves, and they're happy however the audience reacts.

"It's all what the fans think. You feel me, baby?" Flossy says. "Whatever emotion you get, when you listen to ‘Lemme Smang It,' we did our job—as long as you get an emotion out of it. Whether if you say, ‘Hey, this is just a good song,' you just want to dance to it, we did our job. If you laugh at it, hey, we did our job."

When they aren't putting together dirty, innuendo-laden rhymes, they exploit the delightful contrast between intense, soulful sincerity and gaudy, dated style. In the video for the upbeat "Can He Move it Like This," singer Pretty Raheem tries to wrest a woman from her boyfriend by dressing up in a lime-green suit and jerking around in a spazzedout dance routine, like he's some low-rent MC Hammer.

Celebrated comedic songwriters, like South Park's Trey Parker and Matt Stone, love the genres they toy with. Turquoise Jeep is no different; Flossy says they take inspiration from artists like Slick Rick and Teddy Riley, the pioneer of the bumping, sentimental '80s electro-R&B sound called new jack swing.

Flossy likes that artists from the '80s weren't trying to look cool or show off. Turquoise Jeep's intentions are similarly pure, he says.

"I think that's why a lot of times, people have a connection with us, because they can relate to us on a lot of these tracks. We're just talking. I'm not out here saying Flynt Flossy is better than anybody. I'm not better than anyone, you know? I'm just expressing myself."

Turquoise Jeep got its start around 2008 or 2009. Flossy, Humma and Whatchyamacallit had spent years toiling in the music industry on small projects— singing, writing and directing videos—and they finally decided to do their own thing.

They started to get some attention when their 2009 song "Stretchy Pants"—a tribute to women's skin-tight stretch pants— showed up on an episode of Attack of the Show! Their profile got bigger with the release of their tune "Fried or Fertilized" ("How you like your eggs / fried or fertilized?"). But "Lemme Smang It" is what really put them on the map, boosting their fan base and providing them big opportunities.

Now, they're planning to release their next album, Keep the Jeep Ridin' Vol. 2. With the recent success of YouTube sensations PSY and Baauer (the guy behind "Harlem Shake"), it seems they have a chance at achieving mainstream success.

"We plan on getting on Billboard real soon, you feel me?" Flossy says. "It's gonna happen."

Turquoise Jeep play at The Casbah on Thursday, May 9. 


Email peterh@sdcitybeat.com or follow him on Twitter at @peterholslin.

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