Mod Sun works a feel-good genre angle he’s dubbed Hippy Hop that runs on sunshine, positive vibrations and righteous herb. His infectious positivity and zest for living makes him Hip Hop’s Andrew WK.
While Mod Sun raps ecstatic about riding high in Holland (“Went to Amsterdam”), his search for the perfect hippie chick (“Stoner Girl”) and busting a mellow groove on his autobiography/philosophical manifesto (“Take the Credit, Imma Keep the Change”), his slinky soundtrack power tokes the best bits of Indie Rock, Reggae, Dub and melodic Pop and blows out a thick cloud of musical love.
Not long ago, Derek Smith left Bloomington, Minn., in the rearview mirror and headed out as a touring drummer at the tender age of 17. His first major gig was with Minnesotan Hardcore quintet Four Letter Lie, but he left in 2009 in order to explore a Hip Hop direction as Mod Sun. In 2010, he joined Scary Kids Scaring Kids for their farewell tour; Smith opened the SKSK shows under his newly minted Hip Hop moniker and was an immediate sensation.
The following year, Rolling Stone cited Mod Sun among the Top 16 unsigned artists in the world, putting him in the running to become the first independent act to grace the magazine’s cover. Since his launch, Mod Sun has played a pretty impressive numbers game; he’s written more than 100 songs, 90 percent of which have been distributed for free, his YouTube video “Same Way” (fave line: “I got so many bright ideas my forehead got a suntan”) has notched more than 600,000 views and his latest mixtape, Blazed By the Bell, countered 40,000 downloads in its first month of availability.
Forget Facebook; Mod Sun’s slogan is “No fans, just friends.”
MOD SUN performs Tuesday, Feb. 19 with Tayyib Ali, Choo Jackson and Pat Brown at 20th Century Theatre in Oakley. Buy tickets, check out performance times and get venue details here.