Justin Warfield

  • Justin Warfield
  • My Field Trip to Planet 9 by Justin Warfield (Qwest/Reprise) 1993 
  • Justin Warfield Supernaut
  • The Justin Warfield Supernaut (Qwest/Reprise) 1995 
  • Various Artists
  • Q.D. III Soundlab (Qwest/Reprise) 1991 

Los Angeles native Justin Warfield was still in his teens when he contributed three tracks to a 1991 compilation produced by Quincy Jones’ son. He was barely 20 when My Field Trip to Planet 9 was released, and that record’s promise, combined with his youth, led many to expect great things of the psychedelicized rapper. What should have been expected of his youth was some malleability and capriciousness; all his next record of Sgt. Pepper-influenced psychedelic rock shares with the debut is its reflexive title.

Produced by Prince Paul, My Field Trip to Planet 9 is a joyously atypical hip-hop record: Warfield’s trippy guitar loops take the place of shopworn soul/funk samples, he goes by his given name rather than a contrived street handle and his view of pop culture is as expanded as his chemically assisted mind — Ravi Shankar and Joanie Loves Chachi both get namechecked. Warfield’s plain-spoken raps seek to lull rather than rouse, and his delivery sounds like a mid-afternoon stoner monologue that just happens to rhyme.

Dispensing with hip-hop, Warfield turned to rock with the four-piece Supernaut. Much of the material is as original as Lenny Kravitz — which is to say not very — and the lyrics are not much more intelligible. “Serpent’s tongue just grazed the fire/Demon-shed tongue drip cornshoe dire” goes “Moontower.” Warfield is a charmer, though, and both records’ shortcomings can be written off as the miscalculations of an overenthusiastic rookie.

Warfield has since moved back into rap and on into electronica, working on tracks with Bomb the Bass, Cornershop, Placebo and the Chemical Brothers.

[Scott Frampton]