What can yet another Internet knucklefuck opine about L.A. Laker headcase Metta World Peace (aka Ron Artest) that hasn’t been opined before?
Anyone familiar with the last decade of National Basketball Association action will most likely flashback to Artest’s 2004 punching of a Detroit Piston’s fan while on the Indiana Pacers that incited a full scale riot in The Palace Of Auburn Hills. As the near folk tale goes Ron Artest (who was currently the reigning NBA Defensive Player Of The Year and brick wall busted bad boy) set things off late in a garbage time drubbing of the Pistons. Piston’s center Ben Wallace was on his way to the hoop for a routine lay up when Ron gave an unnecessary hard foul based on the all but insurmountable Pacer lead.
Wallace retaliated by hard shoving Metta/Ron before both benches cleared to defend their respective teammates. This is where the story goes from average to insane: Artest went over to the sideline and laid down on the scorer’s table before being hit in the head by a full cup of beer….instantly drenching him.
Before taking the time to scan the stands for the culprit Artest charged headfirst into the crowd and punched the first irate looking fan he could find flush in the chops. Unfortunately for Ron he decked an innocent bystander who had not been the source of the brew battery. The fan was literally knocked off his feet by the blow and from there a full scale riot ensued in The Palace. The victim sustained enough physical damage to file a massive lawsuit against Ron Artest and the NBA.
Peruse the riot carnage here:
As a result of his retaliatory misstep Artest brought serious embarrassment to the NBA became one of only 2 players in League history to receive an full year’s suspension for violent behavior (rivaling only former Golden State Warrior Latrell Sprewell’s choking of coach P.J. Carlesimo). It also solidified Ron’s reputation as the League’s new Dennis Rodman….the nut job hatchet man enforcer who always seemed to be one step away from losing his shit. Artest also remained the man an opposing player least wanted to lock horns with on the court.
Even after a concerted media campaign to smooth over his tarnished image Artest came back to a closed door in Indianapolis. After the Pacers cut him Ron bounced around the NBA for a few forgettable seasons before getting a shot at rewriting his NBA story when the Lakers signed him after their 2009 championship season. Artest spent much of the first part of 2010 searching for a suddenly absent offensive game while morphing into the Lake Show’s most fierce defender.
When the Lakers made a return to the 2010 NBA Finals Ron battled injuries throughout the playoff run before coming up huge for L.A. in Games 6 & 7 of their eventual title defense against the Boston Celtics. Artest’s unexpected 20 point offensive outburst in Game 7 (including a clutch 3 pointer in the closing minutes) became one of the most entertaining subplots of the series. Afterward Laker head coach Phil Jackson dubbed Artest the team’s most valuable player of Game 7.
In his post game interview with ABC’s Doris Burke after clinching the championship the soon to be artist-formerly-known-as-Ron Artest uttered one of the most authentically unfiltered lines in sports history “I’d really like to thank my doctor….my psychiatrist….she really helped me relax a lot!” He also unceremoniously plugged his upcoming rap song ‘Champions’ which he confessed was penned and recorded over the previous year when he was still in the hunt for a championship. Doris Burke threw her hands up and said “I’m just going to let him go, Guys!” and then watched Artest start squealing ecstatically like an adolescent….Cheshire Cat grin tattooed on his mug. His childlike joy and lighthearted megalomania were enough to satiate any lover of sports goofballs the world over.
Check dig the interview clip:
Little did the public know that Ron Artest’s wacky behavior was about to ratchet itself up to a whole new level of laughable. Within weeks of being crowned an NBA Champion Artest sent a press release to the media informing the public that he had legally changed his name to the artistically cryptic moniker ‘Metta World Peace’. When asked about the significance of his radical name swap Metta told reporters it was in support of his fledgling rap career. He also spoke of a mystical vision of influencing social change with the words ‘World Peace’ emblazoned on the back of his jersey. I recall cracking endlessly wise with my friends imagining NBA commentators exclaiming “World Peace FOR THREEEE!!!!” or “World Peace with the BIG BLOCK AT THE RIM!!!”
Over the next 2 seasons Mr. World Peace came back to the Lakers out of shape and was demoted to a back up role by new Laker coach Mike Brown. By around 2011 the man who had rehabbed his image from riot inciting stooge to J Walter Kennedy Citizenship Award Winner for his community work seemed to slip back into old negative patterns. More fights on the court (including a celebratory elbow after a dunk that caught OKC Thunder guard James Harden upside the skull causing him a concussion). Metta also began consistently releasing his rap singles to mass ridicule and critical savagery. Vice Beta summed his lyrical talent up this way:
“Not to get all “Professional Rap Critic” on you, but the song sucks a gazillion dog dicks. It sounds like he’s trying to be a different rapper every single bar (He’s rapping too fast on purpose like late-90s Cam’ron! Now he’s some generic Atlanta rapper! Now his inflection’s making him sound like Vast Aire!?!?), which is usually a thing that happens when you write your verse and try to match it to the beat once you’re in the studio. Oh, and the beat itself sounds like a barely-warmed-over Zaytoven leftover. This is not, unfortunately, Metta World Peace’s first foray into the music world. He also put out a really dumb song called “Champions”.
This may be one of the nicest critiques there is online of his rap songs.
World Peace responded to the haters in XXL by stating “My music is strictly for the fans” and then defending his Hip Hop street cred by referencing his Queensbridge, New York upbringing and rap allies:
“The rap game is definitely something that I idolize,” he started “I always thought it an honor, growing up in the same neighborhood as Nas and Mobb Deep. One of the major reasons, probably the only reason I wanted to rap, was because of Nas and Mobb Deep. They also pushed me to become great on the court, because in the hood, in our neighborhood, it was all about who is hot. Who has the flyest kicks? Who is popping right now? Who is shining? That’s not the proper way to be raised, but that’s how we were raised. I wanted to be one of the people from my hood that was shining, and I knew that basketball was going to help me shine in my hood. I couldn’t compete with those guys rapping, but I knew basketball wise I could definitely shine and land. But with that said, paying homage to those guys, Nas and Mobb Deep, I’m proud to say Capone is my cousin, proud to say CNN is damn near family, CNN. I’m proud that Rashan Shante used to babysit me when I was a baby, one of the first rappers. I’m proud to say that Nature’s mom had me over for Thanksgiving every year. I was raised with his little brother; Nature was older. Just hanging out with the whole block family. These famous rappers I used to wake up to kill mice for me in my apartment back in the day. Tragedy dated my sister when I was a young kid; it just goes on and on.”
Recently while ambling through my Facebook news feed I perchanced upon an update from Metta’s music page advertising a new free download called ‘Point Of No Return’ featuring Kansas City rap legend Tech N9Ne. Even though I was amused by the thought of World Peace attempting to trade bars with the mighty Tech I had to know if Metta Ron Artest’s flow was truly as dog dick deep throat worthy as the cyber trolls claimed.
Turned out the peanut gallery blew things out of proportion. World Peace isn’t super awful. Just awful enough to be snubbed by former Pacers teammate Stephen Jackson when he put out his own rap record a few years back.
The music I’ve heard made me smile, laugh, bob my head, and gave me much needed perspective on the rascally baller. While he obviously pails in comparison to ringer rap guests like Tech N9Ne, Prodigy, and Jim Jones he has an authentic voice/flow that doesn’t contrast much from his natural cadence and vocal tone. He makes some foolish style choices (including a poor man’s Lil Wayne meets T-Pain Auto Tune chorus on ‘Point Of No Return’) but like his Game 7 postgame interview he was absolved of this author’s scorn due to his transparent enthusiasm and lyrical earnestness.
In other words: Metta World Peace is not afraid to drop tracks with titles like ‘Get Like Me’ and ‘Blood In My Gatorade.’
Any pragmatist reading this write up is encouraged to take World Peace’s records with a grain of salt. The only way one can become as jaded as the Vice Beta bloggers is if they purely analyze Metta’s music based on his reputation and other legit artist’s work.
There is an obvious rap learning curve Artest has been ascending with relative quickness. My prediction is that World Peace’s next album may even have a pop hit or two on it. Even being as average rap wise as many instinctively assumed he would be in 2010 Metta is learning on the fly and seemingly getting to know himself through the process.
Will Metta ever become the champion he rightfully became on the basketball court in 2010? Most likely not. Is he better than 50% of the mush mouthed so-called emcees masquerading on commercial radio and MTV2? Mos Def. Is Metta a better rapper than Mos Def? No fucking way.
Ironically World Peace does possess the one intangible most rappers can only fantasize about: Genuine Superstar Status. And actual improvement potential. World Peace’s deep voice is strong and engaging. His bars are intentionally and accidentally amusing. Metta makes the rap offerings of Shaquille O’Neal, Allen Iverson, & Tony Parker look like brain dead drivel.
I know what you’re thinking….Not Shaq Diesel! Alas even Kazaam gets eclipsed by his mentally colorful contemporary. Plus who else has ever rap battled Arsenio Hall?
Stephen Jackson eat your heart out.
Metta World Peace ft. Tech N9Ne – “Point Of No Return”:
2 weeks ago Boston was rocked by one of the most vicious and violent bombing plots to penetrate U.S. borders since 9/11. I remember breaking down and crying about it before I’d seen a lick of footage and also feeling challenged again by the fear that my country may very well not be safe. As the days passed in the direct aftermath we once again witnessed a mind numbingly inept media purport copious quantities of misinformation before finally getting their stories straight.
The American press has long been dominated by a swinish sense of entitlement to broadcast (with or without permission) every last decrepit tidbit of vile human behavior in our world. Obviously our dear Internet can prove a tar pit of depravity but at least it is a free equal opportunity landscape for us to make love not war (sometimes vividly!) For every misinformed blogger blowhard conspiracy theorist that exists the Web quickly connects me to a vast array of information that most often helps me feel like I’m getting the whole picture. This type of media autonomy makes me feel more confident about the facts than taking one networks’ reports at face value. That is why I occasionally go slumming on TMZ. You read me right: TM-FUCKING-Z BETCH!
Unless you’ve been living in a T.V. free zone for the last couple of years you’ve no doubt stumbled on the late night paparazzi shenanigans of Harvey Levin and the ‘newsroom reporters’ at TMZ. I use the term ‘newsroom’ loosely because these leeches specialize in publicizing the kind of soul sucking celebrity gossip that only we hardened US Weekly readers can ethically rationalize entertaining. Charlie Sheen snorts Bath Salts out of Jenna Jameson’s cooter? BREAKING NEWS!!! Beyonce looks fat in a swimsuit? Devote a whole segment of the show to trashing her physique. Jim Jones gets arrested by police for the trillionth time? Make fun of his Butterfly Door adorned Camaro. TMZ is heaping helpings of toxic waste served daily with Harvey as the smug, gay master of ceremonies. If Harvey Levin tells me John Travolta likes little boys he should know. “Gaydar” is no joke.
I won’t lie to you….my wife and I buy US Weekly at the supermarket. I oft refer to their slimy pages as my ‘toilet paper’. Gotcha journalism officially legitimized itself to me when a couple precocious vultures from National Enquirer staked out Senator John Edwards in a hotel parking lot and got the first photo of him with his mistress and secret love child. Those photographers (self serving as they may have been) almost instantaneously gave the previously ridiculous newspaper an err of gotcha journalism reminiscent of “Deep Throat” and the Watergate scandal. Edwards was outed for using campaign donations to bankroll his clandestine family, his presidential bid in 2008 was ruined, and he is now facing criminal charges for embezzlement. Slimy motives irregardless these men helped foil a massive white collar crime that directly affected millions of Americans, their money, and their potential choice for president.
Beyond simply watching TMZ on television I recently became compelled to also follow Harvey and the Gang online. Their Facebook page links me to any new Superstars Gone Wild stories that have crossed the news desk.
Mere days after the Boston Police Department announced that they had killed bombing suspect Tamerlan and captured wounded brother Dzhokhar Tsarnaev I was surprised to see a Facebook update from www.tmz.com with the headline “Dead Bombing Suspect Heavy Into Hip Hop”. Being the White Rap Samurai that I am my interest had been piqued. What I read was far more trite, yellow journalist hogwash then the usual Gary Busey Mugshotfest I’d become accustomed to. The TMZ blog reads:
“The older brother who was killed and suspected in the Boston bombings was deep into hip hop, and it appears he belonged to a fan website that touted that genre of music.Tamerlan Tsarnaev has an email associated with the website, “Real-hiphop.com.”The site provides information about hip hop artists and upcoming DVD releases.
What’s interesting … hip hop lyrics are notoriously violent and often degrading to women. Tamerlan Tsarnaev has a boxing profile in which he says he doesn’t take his shirt off much because he doesn’t want women to get bad ideas, adding, “I’m very religious.” This statement is significantly more conservative than the hip hop genre.”
I literally began shouting at the computer screen as I finished this not-so-veiled diatribe against African-American culture. How dare they blame Hip Hop for inciting an act of terror that killed 3 and wounded over 140 innocent people? Plus the photos that TMZ displayed from the website homepage featured photos of T.I., KRSONE, Swizz Beats, & Jadakiss. As any savvy Hip Hop fan will tell you that isn’t exactly the most blood chilling line up of rappers. My first thought was besides T.I. & Jadakiss I doubted anyone else listed on the homepage had ever been in any kind of serious legal trouble for actual violence.
Moreover, T.I. has always lyrically displayed a wide array of content in his music and KRSONE is one of the original pioneers of the Hip Hop Peace movement. He regularly speaks out against drugs and gang violence and has verbally battled many of the toughest acting emcees in the game in the name of Love and Unity. How on Earth could the usually dirt savvy Harvey Levin be so out of touch on this one?
Within a day of this horseshit bombshell T.I. issued a response which TMZ subsequently latched onto as well:
“T.I. is pissed … telling TMZ he has no connection to the hip hop website frequented by dead Boston bombing suspect Tamerlan Tsarnaev … a site that prominently featured the rapper’s mug.T.I. had no idea his pictures were posted — he’d never even HEARD of Real-HipHop.com — and he’s upset that the hip hop genre is now connected to the bombers.”Hip hop narrates the activity and conditions of our culture,” he tells us. “It doesn’t create them.”
T.I. is frustrated: “Hip hop ain’t never been about hurting innocent people,” T.I. said. He feels Boston “was a horrible tragedy and my prayers go out to the families involved.”
Look at how TMZ quickly comes full circle and now seems to coddle T.I. hours after throwing him under the bus by photographic proxy. I applaud T.I. for beating me to the inevitable punch on this one. The only thing that surprises me is that the Almighty KRS didn’t sound the alarm even quicker.
Anyone interested in truly learning about the origin of the Hip Hop movement are encouraged to read “Can’t Stop Won’t Stop” by Jeff Chang. In it he clearly outlines how the NYC O.G.s that founded Hip Hop intended the culture to be a creative outlet to the urban kids who were daily threatened by drugs and gang violence.
Maybe if Mr. Levin and his cronies at TMZ decide to dig a little deeper than the surface level next time a national tragedy happens we can live in a world where we won’t have to write editorials defending the merits of Hip Hop. What a wonderful world that will be. Real Talk. No Homo.
In case you couldn’t tell from my profile pic I am a white boy from the suburbs. This does not mean I am a narc, mark, or oligarch but it does make me innately square. Face it: what kind of Honors English Dork drops ‘oligarch’ in their first 4 stanzas? The prosecution rests.
Born on the tail end of Generation X I scarcely recall a time in my life where I didn’t feel compelled to fight the power while simultaneously aligning myself with the power source and benefiting from its’ amenities. With this scurrlious and hypocritical game plan came opportunities to subvert my surrounding conservative compatriots’ social values, ideals, & biases. These countrified folks wanted no part of anything even remotely “urban.” Trips to the city were made for work or to enjoy the entertainments within but there was never any thought of emulating their aesthetic surroundings. If anything the litter and graffiti that strafed our city blocks became a bitter reminder to the suburbanites of not only why they didn’t want to live in the city…but what was wrong with human nature. Graf had no artistic value in their eyes. Bombing & Tagging pieces were no more than unsightly vandalism that deserved to be taken down ASAP.
As I referenced earlier I had a healthy compulsion for breaking the rules as a youth. If you made a list of all the ‘bad’ things I did I’m sure crudely scrawled chicken scratch graffiti made it on there occasionally. That said I never fashioned myself much of a visual artist so any sort of painting (spray can regardless) was daunting and seemingly unmasterable to me. I did have friends who made amazing graf pieces in their sketch books and on canvass who would go on tagging & bombing missions in the wee hours of night. I definitely was thrilled by the cloak and dagger appeal of these outlaw Hip Hop Rembrandts and their dangerous pastime but knew better than to think I was either talented or slick enough to get away with joining in the subterfuge. Thus I took my appreciation for all things creative and illegal & relegated myself to the role of sideline appreciator & constant noticer of all things Graf.
Every Monday I take the Vermont/Sunset Metro Bus into the heart of Hollywood. I start out 20 miles away at the Metro Link station and make the hour long trek to my radio show going right by the USC campus & football stadium. Even out here in my current L.A. suburb of Redondo Beach the neighborhoods I span on my Monday bus trip are considered ghetto. Burnt out buidlings, package liquor stores, & check cashing shops line each and every street. Graffiti, impressive and shitty looking, drenches every conceivable square acre of space. Every wall a mural meets message board for taggers to battle & communicate. Since I am a relative novice I look at it with the same wistful ignorance as many of the urban campers who live in tents down by the Metro Link tracks. I am drawn to the naughty nature of the act itself but have no idea how to personalize the stark information I’ve been directly presented. Since the nature of this type of artistry has to be protected for obvious there are few glossaries to consult when trying to sort gang code banter from authentic bombing artisanry.
As if on cue I was hipped to the least square website I may have ever peeped. Bombing Science (www.bombingscience.com) is a graffiti culture megasite complete with a plethora of great pics of Walls, Freight Trains, Street Art, Tags, & Bombing from all over the world. Graf geniuses spanning from Paris to Montreal to Barcelona to Panama City to New York City & L.A. are being featured in a variety of forums with expert layout and analysis.
Bombing Science features in depth interviews with a revolving door of dope dudes including Tox, Omen, & Joe Volt. Their blog section is also impressive with an active assortment of articles on all things graffiti such as debates on the merits of graffiti vs. street art. I dare think you may be able to dig add infinitum and never run out of tantalizing images to enjoy. There is also a full service shop that sells spray paint, markers, tips, books, movies, magazines, shoes, and Graf/Hip-Hop clothing accessories.
Nearly everything I’ve laid my eyes on so far is quintessentially “Sick.” Even as square as I know I am it would be out of character to demand you do anything I recommend. If I were to be that obtuse I would so totally force you to go immerse yourself in the fine art of Bombing Science. You wouldn’t regret it.
My first impression of Tyler, The Creator’s new album ‘Wolf’ came when I popped it in to review it in front of my 3 year old son and heard enough pervasive language in 2 minutes to know I had to turn it off. I can only imagine my wife coming home to hearing my darling baby boy serenading her ears with “My balls balls deep in this broads jaw/swallow girl its just nut” or “Yeah they think I’m fucking nuts like the swag of a fag!”
Now folks I have always been an extreme advocate of free speech (minus violent threats) but having a child has made me have to confront some harsh realities. 3 year olds are entirely too young to have access to the abrasive hate speech that Tyler and his alter egos spray like lead bullets all over this disc.
I became vaguely aware of Tyler through my buddy and ear to the underground Julian a few years ago. In his words ‘it’s mostly shit but Yonkers is pretty tight.’ He loaded up some of his first and second albums ‘Bastard’ & ‘Goblin’ on my I-Pod but once again the flagrant use of the hate speech rainbow and violent rape imagery didn’t appeal to me on first blush. I never made it to Yonkers.
I feel like such a Fuddy Duddy typing that last line but I wasn’t off base.
According to Wikipedia:
“Tyler has been criticized for his use of homophobic slurs, in particular, his frequent use of the epithet faggot in his lyrics and on Twitter. He has denied accusations of homophobia, stating, “I’m not homophobic. I just say faggot and use gay as an adjective to describe stupid shit, and, “I’m not homophobic. I just think faggot hits and hurts people.” However, he later said in an interview with MTV about the slurs, “Well, I have gay fans and they don’t really take it offensive, so I don’t know. If it offends you, it offends you. If you call me a nigger, I really don’t care, but that’s just me, personally. Some people might take it the other way; I personally don’t give a shit.”
Tyler has also been criticized for his graphic depictions of violence against women and his misogynistic lyrics. Brent DiCrescenzo of Time Out Chicago writes that rape is a “predominant theme” of Goblin and Hermione Hoby of The Guardian writes that Tyler’s “rape and murder fantasies (are) graphic enough to send the vomit rising along with the bile.” The Fader tallied 68 uses of the term “bitch” over Goblin’s 73 minutes. Responding to Canadian indie pop duo Tegan and Sara’s criticism of his lyrics, Tyler tweeted: “If Tegan and Sara need some hard dick, hit me up!”
I can almost hear you thinking it….Isn’t Rap and Hip Hop notorious for all of its xenophobic language and glorification of depraved behavior? What makes Tyler so especially awful? I’ve asked myself and my DJ friends this question and the best answer I’ve come up with is this dude is 22 years old, he has already started his own record label Odd Future which is now signed to Sony, he has his own TV show ‘Loiter Squard’ on Adult Swim, Kanye West and Nas hail him as a genius, and he has a legion of young followers of various races and social backgrounds. And he raps consistently about hard shit.
When he uses such vivid and foul language it gives the jealous & disenchanted haters an easy bulls eye to aim at. Almost like a church picketing a movie helping it make millions of dollars Tyler seems to have rode a wave of creative malice all the way to the top of the Alt Rap totem poll. The hateful backlash got Tyler banned from a Pitchfork Music Festival and other shows in Europe due to perceived homophobia and woman hatred. It also has garnered him an ever growing legion of Odd Future disciples.
I knew full well The Creator would be responding to his critics on the new album and he does so guns blazing. Tyler takes an Eminem-esque approach to taking on his nemeses. I often thought of Em’s ‘Marshall Mathers’ EP while listening to ‘Wolf’. Since the days of rap alter egotism seem to have gone the way of the dinosaur and most modern day rappers still purport to do all the wild things they claim Tyler seems to be taking a much more fantastic route.
The artists in Marshall and Tyler still pine for the unfiltered hot shit with next level beats to match. Both are willing to use sarcasm, satire, other personalities, and antagonistic humor to take the edge off their punk rock messages. They both have spent multiple albums sorting out their deep seeded angst with their so-called deadbeat parents. With Tyler its the “Nigerian Faggot” that inspired his first album ‘Bastard’. With Em it was his mother. And his ex-wife. And everyone else. But mostly his mother.
Where presentation is concerned the packaging meets the talent and the vision. The album notes are fully illustrated with with photocopied handwritten lyrics printed for your perusal. The cover purports itself an:
“Original Screenplay….Wolf Salem Slater Sam…..A Film By Wolf Haley”.
I was soon to learn that Wolf, Salem, Slater, and Sam (Samuel) are 4 different characters in this 18 song, 70+ minute long shock opus.
Wolf seems to be the up and coming emcee….fully entrenched in his persistent issues with being abandoned by his dad while simultaneously portraying and glorifying all the stereotypical young, black, male bullshit. He boasts of conquests with his deadbeat dad’s new wife and later falls for a girl he thought was just another trick.
Salem is the girlfriend and he allows himself to even occasionally rap (albeit in exactly the same vocal tone) as her too.
Slater is a friend of his who Wolf hangs out with and rides bikes with and skates with. They have a falling out over drugs and Slater makes a play for Salem.
Violence ensues once Wolf allows himself to become Samuel (his violently deranged split personality).
The rest of the album alternates between this plot line and existential side steps into the lives of different people who have influenced, derided, or inspired Tyler along the way.
If that sounds like a convoluted mess well I’ll put it this way: it’s taken me 5 listens to culminate that from what I’ve just heard. It’s tempting to get stuck on all the ‘Bitches’, ‘Godamns’, ‘Niggers’ and ‘Motherfuckers’….N’ah Mean?
That said I was impressed by his liner photos and the persistent substantiation of Mr. Wolf’s obvious hyper coolness. Tyler reps the skateboard and bike culture and has an amazingly infectious flare for cover art, fashion, rhyme delivery, beat style and executive production. His mixing and mastering are aggressive but flawless and show many signs of artistic flare and indie whimsy.
The best way I can describe his rhyme delivery is immaculately raw. Tyler’s deep vocal tone and hardcore subject matter make it hard for a willing listener not to be drawn in. Many of the songs that were most impressive to me were ones where he traded in the pure satire for more compelling glimpses of his soul. On songs like ‘Awkward’, ‘Answer’, ‘Party Isn’t Over/Campfire/Bimmer’ & ‘IFHY ft Pharrell’ he reveals various degrees of Wolf’s sensitive side as the love story with Salem unfolds. The last song ‘Lone’ is another trip to the analysts couch for Wolf to vent about having to watch his grandmother die from brain cancer. It’s one of the finest moments of being able to empathize with his struggle. But then we must again ask ourselves is this Tyler or Wolf we’re feeling sorry for?
Obviously if one wanted to stretch we would look no further than the Salem Witch trials to infer Salem is the witch who leads to the broken friendship with Slater. But once again….Tyler hasn’t made this alternate universe simple to figure out. Much like an El-P or DOOM I’m sure he expects the devoutly interested to spend at least a week or two marinating on the plot line before declaring they’ve figured ‘Wolf’ out.
My absolute favorite track on the album was Colossus (which echoes Tyler’s ‘Bastard’ title track with ominous pianos and consistent reference to the song itself) as he gives us a scene at Six Flags where he is mobbed by unwelcome poser fans who in his words are “sucking my dick.” As he alternates back and forth between Wolf and his ass kissing fan seeking a photo we get an inner look at Wolf’s psyche as he grouchily rebuffs the kids before feeling guilty and relenting for a photograph and some self justification for being initially rude. This is one of my favorite moments of Wolf painting his Portrait Of The Smart Ass As A Young Man. It also reminds me of Em’s stalker fan song ‘Stan’.
The other track that really stands out is the sure to be controversial ‘Pigs’ which leads off with police sirens and the opening stanza “Geek Fag Stupid Loser Find A Rope To Hang” and then proceeds to detail Samuel’s masterminding of a school shooting that he enlists Wolf and his friends into. As you might guess things don’t go well.
Socially current and provocative story lines involving mass murder and school violence will surely speak to his youthful, subversive demographic while polarizing the squeamish in the process. ‘Pigs’ obligatory blaze of glory shootout ending seems almost welcome like the bloody final scenes of The Departed. That’s what ‘Wolf’ sounds like: A Shock Rap Audio Movie.
Those that fail to separate the fantasy from real life will be instantly offended and confused. The savvy will stay subjective and find layers of humanity which transcend the melodrama.
Wolf’s guest list is also impressive. There are the mandatory cameos by Tyler’s Odd Future bedrocks Domo Genesis, Earl Sweatshirt, & Frank Ocean (a self outed LGBT community member….which Tyler touts as a rebut to his Gay Defamation League critics “They say I hate Gays and Frank’s been on like 10 of my songs”) as well as Hip Hop Legends Nas, Pharrell, & Erykah Badu.
The track ’48′ features an interview Tyler did with Nas for XXL Magazine and focuses on the trap dealing game.
The surprisingly lighthearted ‘TreeHome95′ showcases some of Ms. Badu’s finest melodic offerings in years.
I also exhaled a defensive gasp after hearing Tyler audaciously exclaim “Tell Spike Lee he’s a Goddamn Nigger!” in the scat drenched club send up ‘Tamale.’ I feel redundant folks but those kind of barbs and arrows fly left, right, up, and down throughout Wolf’s 70 minute drama fest.
Calling this type of music fun would be a stretch for me. I dig plenty of the beats and equate his production style to a Kanye/NO ID/DOOM hybrid that segues elastically from underground to pop sensibility. Occasionally the perma-choppy snare drums and derivative break samples underwhelm but I would be stretching to say that I was annoyed by much (even the aggressively stupid satires of black people ‘Golf Wang’ & ‘Trash Wang’).
I can state with authority that my son will not be allowed to listen to ‘Wolf’ until he’s old enough to shave. What floors me is that Tyler, The Creator has already created a self motivated music/media empire and he is barely much older than shaving age.
Hopefully on his next record he can chill out and achieve some balance with the profanity and vitriol. Damn…there I go again. Such A Fucking Fuddy Duddy.
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