Buddy brings groovy Cali rap to NPR’s ‘Tiny Desk’

He also brought a blunt, but wasn’t allowed to smoke it.

A new year means new NPR Tiny Desks. The latest performance is one you shouldn’t miss: a four-song set with California rapper Buddy.

The rapper born Simmie Sims III came to Tiny Desk armed with groovy cuts off his acclaimed 2018 debut, Harlan & Alondra. But he also came ready to disarm his audience, often looking unflinchingly into the camera. It’s an atypical, even unnerving amount of virtual eye contact you’ll make with the Compton up-and-comer, but the effect is subtly electric, his cool gaze underscoring the stories he tells in songs like “Legend” and “Trouble on Central.”

This performance was also unique for another reason. As NPR Music’s Rodney Carmichael explains, “When Buddy proceeded to fire up a blunt midway through his set, we had to stop the show and ask him to put it out before re-recording his song, ‘Hey Up There.’ (Smoking is not allowed on NPR property.)”

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Blunt or no, Buddy turned in a masterful performance that you can check out below.

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