Missoula loves it some hip-hop. Local fans already know about the genre's tight grip on the Missoula music scene: Tech N9ne regularly stops here during his tour schedule, Sage Francis riled crowds at a sold-out show at the Palace back in May, and Atmosphere is slated for back-to-back performances at the Wilma in September. It may take an anecdotal backseat to local jam bands and bluegrass, but hip-hop covers as much ground as a Cadillac Escalade in these rural parts.
And now hip-hop's reached out to a new part of the local scene—the ballpark. We're of course talking about the latest addition to the Missoula Osprey game-day soundtrack: the rap stylings of one Jeffrey "Frodie" Harmon of Wapikiya Records. His original track "Brought My Glove" now opens pretty much every game, and "Can't Touch Our Pitcher" is the stadium's new way of introducing the first pitch. The Yankees play Sinatra. The Red Sox play "Dirty Water." The Osprey chose Frodie.
Frodie's lyrics aren't exactly what you'd expect given the typical gangsta hip-hop stereotype. Instead of bitches, he writes about brats. Instead of talking about banging in the club, he lets everyone know that he brought his glove. The only mind-altering substance Frodie slips into his rhymes is a brew during the seventh inning stretch—though we're still a bit curious about the meaning behind the line, "All the Osprey going to make your feathers fluff."
Perhaps the lack of explicit material is why Frodie's contribution has generated little reaction from the public. Roger Harmon, owner of Wapikiya Records and Frodie's dad, says he's heard limited feedback from anyone but the Osprey themselves, who appreciate the work. The artist understands.
"When people are just listening to it over the speakers, I don't know if they even pick up on it," Frodie says. "They're there for baseball, they're not there to listen to music."
Regardless, Frodie tells us his three Osprey-inspired tracks are likely only the beginning. There's talk of a hip-hop sampler LP featuring Missoula-based songs by all of Wapikiya's artists.
The politically correct rappers will just have to beware not to jinx the home team. Frodie penned the lyrics, "We're taking home the championship/thought you knew the word" early in the season. After a defeat to Ogden on Monday, the Osprey were ranked dead last in the league.