Lee Arthur Carter (born October 7, 1971), professionally known by his stage name Viper, is an American rapper and producer. Viper has been producing music since childhood, but received widespread attention online for his 2008 album You'll Cowards Don't Even Smoke Crack. The prolific nature of Viper's work and his commitment to self-production have gained him a cult following as an outsider artist, with comparisons drawn to fellow rapper Lil B and musician Wesley Willis.
Viper in 2015.
|Birth name||Lee Arthur Carter|
|Also known as||Rapper Viper, Viper the Rapper, Cobra, Diemondback,|
|Born||October 7, 1971|
El Dorado, Arkansas, United States
Viper was born in El Dorado, Arkansas. He began playing the piano at the age of five. At the age of six, he relocated to the Hiram Clarke neighborhood of Houston, Texas and started rapping at the age of nine. In 1997, he was an actor in the film Fifth Ward, directed by his brother, Greg Carter. After graduating from the University of Houston in 2000, he became a real estate broker and joined the 5-9 Piru street gang, a division of the Bloods.
Viper's first album, Hustlin' Thick was released in 2004, originally under the name Lee Dogg, but was retrospectively changed to Viper shortly after. Viper continued to release mixtapes regularly throughout the early 2000s under his Rhyme Time Records label through the CD Baby website, becoming one of the first cloud rap artists. Throughout this period he showed frustration at his obscurity and limited exposure, as detailed on one of his early songs "9900 Haters On The Wall", where he claimed out of ten thousand people who heard his albums on the site, only a hundred had bought them.
His obscurity would continue until early 2013, when the title track of his album You'll Cowards Don't Even Smoke Crack, released in 2008, was posted onto YouTube. Since then it has garnered over two and a half million views, and news outlets started reporting on him shortly after. You'll Cowards Don't Even Smoke Crack is his most popular album, and the only one that has been released commercially on an indie record label. University of Notre Dame newspaper The Observer noted that the album became an "internet meme due to its shockingly upfront title and unique album cover".
Despite the heavily independent and lo-fi nature of the album, it received positive coverage in the music press. Sputnik Music wrote that the album fuses "a nostalgic and ethereal blend of cloud rap and vaporwave". The Chicago Reader wrote that the album is "outsider-artist genius. People on the Internet are initially drawn to Viper because of his blatant disregard for grammar, outrageously violent and drugcentric lyrics, and how sonically bizarre he is in general."
Since then, Viper has remained active, producing almost an album per day on average in 2014, often consisting of recycled or chopped and screwed material, while making his music available on Spotify and iTunes and giving interviews to the local music press. As of 2019, he has released well over 1000 albums, although only approximately 15 or so consist of solely original material.
Carter has had three children with his wife. He believes he is the second coming of Jesus Christ, as well as being a devout Christian. In June 2016, Carter suffered pneumonia as a result of him wearing a contraption he calls "Tha Hornace of Death [sic]" or THOD which is in fact, small women's body wraps he wears constantly in order to "make small".
Viper is prolific, having released 347 albums in the year 2014 alone. His low-budget, DIY aesthetic is present not only in his music but also its accompanying videos and album art, which frequently consist of simple self-portraits, clip art and his name and the album title superimposed in plain text.
Musically, he is recognized for his deep voice, occasional use of autotune, and slowed-down, low-fidelity and glitchy and ethereal production typical of cloud rap or the chopped and screwed subgenre native to Viper's Houston scene.
During his career, Viper has released over 1000 albums. However, most of these just have previous songs that have been chopped and screwed, slowed down, or simply recycled and put under different names. Therefore, only a partial part of his discography has been listed below.
Primary original Viper albums are marked in bold.
- Hustlin' Thick (2004, originally under the name Lee Dogg)
- Ready and...Willing (2006)
- 'Heartless Hoodlum (2006)
- 'The Southwest Hooligan (2006)
- You'll Cowards Don't Even Smoke Crack (2008)
- The Hiram Clarke Hustler (2008)
- The Paper Man (2008)
- These Rappers Claim They Hard When Them Fags Never Even Seen the Pen (2010)
- Concrete Jungle (2010)
- Gleam (2010)
- Things Thugs Do (2010)
- A Hustler's Life (2010)
- Grind to Shine (2010)
- 5-9 Piru Music: The Gang, The Album, The Label (2012)
- I Have The Best Piece and Chain Ever Made! (2013)
- Kill Urself My Man (2013)
- Rich and NOT Famous (2013)
- Cops Can't Read (2014)
- Evrythang I Do Is... (2014)
- Tell the Rapper (2015)
- Tha Top Malla (2015)
- Death 2 Snitches (with Nmesh) (2015)
- Death From In Front (2016)
- What Nightmare? Ur Awake 5 (2017)
- World Rap Star (with Nolan) (2017)
- Split with Viper (with Fentanyl Surprise) (2017)
- Tha Top-Choice Assassin (2018)
- 'Bout tha Money (with Broken Machine Films) (2018)
- They Hate Me Cuz I'm Vaporwave (with Nmesh & various producers) (2018)
- Cops are Jealous Losers (2018)
- "An Interview with Viper". KRLX January 24, 2015 Jackson Hudgins. Archived from the original on July 9, 2015. Retrieved February 4, 2015.
- "12 O'Clock Track: "You'll Cowards Don't Even Smoke Crack" is outsider-hip-hop brilliance". Chicago Reader July 5, 2013 Luca Cimarusti. Retrieved January 11, 2015.
- "Meet Viper, The Genius Rapper Behind "You'll Cowards Don't Even Smoke Crack"". Noisey July 15, 2013 Jeremy Gordon. July 15, 2013. Retrieved January 11, 2015.
- "Fifth Ward (1997) – Full Cast & Crew – IMDb". Internet Movie Database. Retrieved March 13, 2016.
- "J-Ride (Viper the Rapper) - Choppers". YouTube. Retrieved August 20, 2019.
- "LEE DOGG / LEE DOGG" (in Japanese). Retrieved August 20, 2019.
- "9900 Haters On The Wall". Retrieved August 20, 2019.
- "Chamber 38 releases You'll Cowards Don't Even Smoke Crack by Viper". Sunbleach. January 1, 2017. Retrieved August 20, 2019.
- "viper - you'll cowards don't even smoke crack". YouTube. Retrieved August 20, 2019.
- "Viper – You'll Cowards Don't Even Smoke Crack Review". Sputnik Music December 2, 2014 Robert Lowe. Retrieved January 11, 2015.
- "Meet Viper, rap's Renaissance man". The Observer January 21, 2015 Jimmy Kemper. Retrieved January 21, 2015.
- "This Rapper Has Released 347 Albums in 2014… So Far". Vocativ December 31, 2014. December 31, 2014. Retrieved February 6, 2015.
- Viper (June 29, 2019). "307-T3 I'm blessed that I've found my calling,to teach men to live a #FLAWLESSLIFE by leaving a #FLAWLESSLEGACY,then in heaven the only men they will be have to see is my father JESUS & his Father GOD & no other men + all other women of this life & more women,as I'm in LT3 as...pic.twitter.com/mtrLL8WDhL". @RapperViper. Retrieved August 19, 2019.
- Viper - Viper Interview 2019 (Evil's Always by My Side), retrieved August 19, 2019
- Viper (June 15, 2016). "D2 J2 Ihave a badcase of pneumonia I feel like darthvador when hislimbs were disembowel.Myresolve has never been greater. Longlive thesith". @RapperViper. Retrieved August 19, 2019.
- Viper (April 2, 2016). "The hornace of death: 2 smallest woman sized body wraps which is smushing my stomach & internal organs to make smallpic.twitter.com/VTPMb51Pth". @rapperviper. Retrieved August 19, 2019.
- "Viper is a Struggle Rapper who Released 333 Albums This Year". Pigeons & Planes December 12, 2014. Retrieved February 6, 2015.
- Viper, "Twitter", Viper The Rapper, 4-9-2018