Vincent Schilling
Indian Country Today

It’s no secret that such lyrics as “Gotcha auntie in the kitchen, Like no, he didn’t, gotter gramama’s skillet, like she ‘bout to kill it,” is uttering from the pointed lips of Natives all over Indian Country that have seen music video, “Greasy Frybread.”

The musical artist in question is Punkin’ Lusty, at least that’s his character’s name on “Reservation Dogs.” Punkin’ Lusty is portrayed by Native hip hop and tattoo artist Sten Joddi, who has been in the music scene for decades.

Sten Joddi in 'Greasy Frybread'

With the exposure provided by FX and Hulu and show co-creators Sterlin Harjo and Taika Waititi, Joddi’s range has reached a new level.

Indian Country Today’s Vincent Schilling met with Joddi and asked about the creation of the video and his involvement on the show as Punkin’ Lusty, the hip hop artist and negligent father to Bear Smallhill, played by D’Pharaoh Woon-A-Tai.

Joddi says he approached the song the same way he generally attacks any of his songs, yet also utilizing ideas thrown in from the writers such as Harjo, Tommy Pico and Bobby Wilson. He agreed it was a cool collaboration of minds.

The video itself was a culmination of his wife and family as well as members from the Oklahoma community. Joddi says he was at first afraid that a request for people from the local community and family and friends would fall on deaf ears because of what he assumed would be close-minded executives from Hollywood. The first-time actor says it was the opposite.

It was also distinct in that the music video was made as part of the production of Reservation Dogs, an innovative and exciting prospect for Joddi.

“To get the people in the video, it was just a call out to the community there in Okmulgee, Oklahoma, and everybody kind of just showed up to show support and love for the show. Some of them were my friends, sure. My wife, my kids were able to get in there. It was really cool, man,” said Joddi.

“You know you hear a lot of horror stories about Hollywood and what they make you do and what you can't do. So going into this, like my first time acting, I was kind of skeptical on what was going to happen. Over the years, man, I've just had this kind of funky relationship with the industry, you know, like empty promises.”

“Greasy Frybread” featuring Punkin’ Lusty (Sten Joddi)

Joddi says that with “Reservation Dogs,” he was skeptical, and admitted that the show’s producers and filmmakers were going to have to prove themselves. But after speaking with Harjo, and others, he felt immediate support.

“They actually squashed all of those bad feelings within the first week of me auditioning. Sterlin called me directly, started to get to know me. We started talking on a regular basis and now we are just like homeboys and friends, it’s a family vibe.”

Although he is a hip-hop artist and understands that sometimes in the music industry hip hop artists might showcase sex and money, Joddi said he was not going to showcase such concepts as a married man with a wife and kids.

“When it came down to what the character had to do, they were really open in what I felt Punkin’ Lusty would do, act like or how he would dress. I told them, ‘I'm married with kids and a real big thing is I'm not going to be disrespecting my wife.’ I told them, ‘no women are going to be touching me, and there isn’t going to be any strip club video or anything like that.’ I said, ‘if that's what you guys got, you just have to find somebody else.’ And they said, No, no, that’s totally fine.’”

Joddi was offered a first-class plane ticket to fly to film the show and was offered a limo to be picked up at the airport. He told them he just wanted a rental car and a hotel for him and his family. They agreed. “I am Mvskoke Nation of Oklahoma, I was Born & Raised in Oklahoma , but now live in North Iowa with my family and own my own Tattoo Shop,” said Joddi.

Joddi says the entire shooting of the video and the episode, “What about your dad?” directed by Sydney Freeland, was a great experience. He came up with ideas with his wife to be making frybread as if he “just took over his mom’s kitchen.”

“We wanted it to show that this hip hop video doesn't have to be that mainstream Hollywood hip hop. Even in the Native hip hop community, I understand that hip hop was created to be like a competition thing and it still is in the mainstream hip hop world. Like, it's cool to boast about yourself and how much more you have of somebody else. But I think in Native hip hop, we're not out there to attack each other and say, ‘we're better than you,’ you know, I got bigger cars and bigger wheels and I got more money, that's just not Native hip hop as a whole.”

Sten Joddi performing at the premiere of "Reservation Dogs" (Courtesy image FX/Hulu)

Joddi says there are negative aspects to his character that are contradictory to who he is as a dad. He says some people are calling him out for it, and he reminds them, “I am an actor,” but Joddi also says the show does portray a lot of aspects of real life, “the good, the bad, the ugly, you know what I mean?”

Overall, Joddi is excited to have played a role that was written before he was even cast, a fact he attributed to the existence of Native hip hop artists that have been involved with the hip hop scene for decades. But most of all, he wanted to shout out to the younger generations of youth who might want to seek their own dreams.

“If you're out there and you're listening, and you're trying to think of how to reach your dreams, I just say never give up no matter what anybody says,” he said.

Sten Joddi at the premiere of "Reservation Dogs" (Courtesy image FX/Hulu)

“No matter if your mom, your dad, your aunts, your uncles, your teachers, your friends, your girlfriend, boyfriend, whatever you may have, if they don't understand it, they just don't understand your dream, but never give up on it because it's all possible.”

Lyrics - “Greasy Frybread” featuring Punkin’ Lusty (Sten Joddi)

Grandma's skillet 'bout to kill it. #ReservationDogs

Greasy Frybread

By Sten Joddi

Punkin’ Lusty: RezDogs

———

Baby girl looking Deadly yeah!!!!

Why she acting all Rezzy yeah!!!!

Hotter than a pan of frybread grease!

Have a Native Hittin Powwow Beats!

Gotcha Auntie in the kitchen

Like no he didn’t

Gotter Gramamas skillet

Like she bout to kill it!

In your teepee creepin

On them booty cheeks!

Get Snaggin then ya braggin

Like who the freaks!

Sofkee on the burner

Hokte Hokte head turner

Water baking powder

Choppin up that white stuff

All-purpose flour

Gotta mix it right Up

Hit the Rez with the Shits

They eats it right up!

Greasy Frybread

Greasy Greasy Frybread

Sweat drippin down her face

Working on a stove top

Greasy Frybread

Greasy Greasy Frybread

Slap that dough

Slap that dough

Then Watch the grease pop!

Watch the grease pop

Watch her waste drop

She got that blue bird bag

In her tank top

She got that white powder All over everything

She gettin to bussin

but we ain’t cousins man!

We from the same tribe

But from different clans!

She my Rez Bunny

And I’m her RedMan

She love my Tattoos

And my two braids

Frybread money At the Creek Fest get paid! On that!

Greasy Frybread

Greasy Greasy Frybread

Sweat drippin down her face

Working on a stove top

Greasy Frybread

Greasy Greasy Frybread

Slap that dough

Slap that dough

Watch the grease pop!

About Reservation Dogs

From Sterlin Harjo and Taika Waititi, Reservation Dogs is a half-hour comedy that follows the exploits of four Indigenous teenagers in rural Oklahoma who steal, rob and save in order to get to the exotic, mysterious and faraway land of California. The show’s first-of-its-kind Indigenous creative team invites audiences into a surprisingly familiar and funny world.

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