Local hip-hop group the Death Merchants picked Friday, April 12—which just so happens to be the first day of Coachella 2013—as the date on which to release their debut EP, #iDealDeath.

There’s a reason for that.

“We wanted to try to get it into as many hands as possible,” said David Lumpkin, aka DJ Lumps!, one of the four Death Merchants. “There are going to be hundreds of thousands of people here.”

Lumpkin said the group has 500 copies of the CD now, with another 500 on the way before the second Coachella weekend—and the Merchants will be on hand at the Empire Polo Club to give them out. A download link will be available at their Facebook page as well.

The EP features eight songs the Merchants have recorded over the two years of their existence, and the package definitely shows off the talent of the group, which consists of William Evans-Phelps, aka “Chylite,” a Chicago native who has lived in the Coachella Valley for nine years; Kyle “Nolan” Holcomb, a New Orleans native who moved to the valley when he was 5; Anthony Germaine Walker, aka “Lootenant,” 27, from Biloxi, Miss., who spent the last seven years here after being relocated post-Hurricane Katrina; and Lumpkin, aka DJ Lumps!, a valley native.

“We wanted to put this out first, because we haven’t put anything out as a group yet other than singles,” Lumpkin said. “It’s nice compilation.”

And #iDealDeath is just a taste of things to come, Lumpkin said: A new, full album of 16 to 18 songs from the Death Merchants is slated for release later this year—perhaps as soon as this summer.

“I have soooo much music that I want to get out,” Lumpkin said, adding that the group needs to finish recording four songs for the as-yet-unnamed album.

As for #iDealDeath, Lumpkin said that “Trap Life” is “definitely the coolest” of the eight songs on the EP (scroll down to hear it)—but that the concluding track, “The Club Banger,” is the one that best fits the Death Merchants right now.

“The one (favorite song) is ‘The Club Banger,’ because it is the club-banger,” Lumpkin said. “We want to push it and get it to as many DJs as possible.”

Lumpkin said the Merchants hope that #iDealDeath and the upcoming full-length will help the group reach their goal of joining the festival circuit.

“We want to be one of the featured groups at festivals. … Growing up, we’ve all gone to them. We don’t want to just go anymore; we want to be part of them.”

Check out the Death Merchants’ new album at www.facebook.com/DeathMerchants.

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Jimmy Boegle

Jimmy Boegle is the founding editor and publisher of the Coachella Valley Independent. He is also the executive editor and publisher of the Reno News & Review in Reno, Nev. A native of Reno, the Dodgers...