6.15.2005

Cock Mobster

D was hanging out at our place last night, and as often happens, we ended up doing some audio tourism. At one point, I offered up an MC Paul Barman track, and was shocked to find that she hadn't been previously exposed to the MCPB. And let me tell you, "exposed" is the right word. It got me thinking that maybe Barman isn't as widely-known as he should be.

Though perhaps obvious, it's important to point out that we're talking about a Jewish rapper. For a point of reference, you might want to check out a photo. But while white rappers like Vanilla Ice (the perpetual wannabe) or Eminem (whose talent is pretty much overshadowed by his simple-mindedness) are constantly trying to prove that they deserve cred despite their race, Barman's entire catalogue plays on the fact that he doesn't belong. Of course, this schtick was attempted previously by 2 Live Jew, and more recently by 50 Shekl. The problem is that they SUCK.

Barman, on the other hand, manages to be both totally awful and totally awesome at exactly the same time. It's a trait that you might also attribute to somebody like Richard Cheese, though I'd argue Barman deserves more musical credit since he's writing his own songs rather than doing covers - not to mention the fact that I think Barman's rhyme skills, while utterly ridiculous, can on occassion be virtuosic. That's one of the reasons his satire is so brilliant - he's actually good at his art.

Barman flows like an Erector Set dropped down a stairwell. It doesn't matter if there isn't room for twelve words in the space of four beats - that's where they're going. And I dare you to name another MC who references "From The Mixed Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler". But this isn't just nerd-hop. What makes Barman amazing is the fact that he manages to seamlessly merge a continuous series of high brow refernces with stream of filthy-dirty sex lyrics that are on a level far beyond anything 2 Live Crew ever had to offer.

A good example is "MTV Get Off The Air Pt. 2", Barman's collaboration track with Princess Superstar* of of It's Very Stimulating, which features the line, "I'll be your boyfriend/smooch on your pooper-hole/all through the SuperBowl." Then there's the song whose title provides the header of this post, which is a basically a list of all of the famous women MCPB would like to get with - you know, Tyra Banks, Sigourney Weaver, Kim Gordon, Terri Garr, Cynthia Ozick. The usuals.

If was going to put forward my dime-store culture critique assessment of MCPB, I'd say that by taking the sensationalist, hyper-sexualized tropes of commercial hip-hop to their logical conclusion, he manages to expose the self-aggrandizing machismo of those artists for the sad joke that it is. You can argue that it's a questionable move to position some white dude as the principle hip-hop satirist, but Barman's work doesn't play out as a race joke. Instead, he's bemoaning the commercial co-optation process that has led to the production of so much vapid, postured, hip-pop.

SUGGESTED TRACKS: "MTV Get Off The Air", "Cock Mobster", "I'm Frickin' Awesome", "Housemate Troubles". And by Princess Superstar, "Bad Babysitter".

*She's also well worth a listen, and in some sense could be considered a female counterpart to Barman, except she's less dorky and more...well...hot.

4 Comments:

Blogger d said...

I have to back the cheez up, that song about how he wants to bone terri garr is pretty hilarious. it's like that little kim song where she lists all the guy she wants to do & how (on prince: "he be looking fruity/but you can still eat the booty") but I think in her case, she was being serious. or was she...?

10:05 AM, June 16, 2005  
Blogger jLo said...

Right on, I think you nailed his appeal right on the head. In my opinion MTV Get Off The Air Pt. 2 is one of the greatest songs ever written, and the line you quoted is one of the most chaste in the song!

2:56 PM, June 17, 2005  
Blogger Phil said...

Yeah, I was toying with the idea of putting in or "socks up to your knees like that girl from the craft, I wanna put on a serrated condom and saw you in half" or "one more complaint and I'll shove a rape whistle up the Mrs. V'JayJay," but then I thought better of it.

I also love the little bit of extra dialogue at the very end where he's talking to Prince Paul:

MCPB: M.C. Paul. Barman.
PP: What did you come to do?
MCPB: I came here to make the coolest, funniest, smartest rhymes with Prince Paul!
PP: You havin' fun?
MCPB: No, cuz it's over.

4:52 PM, June 17, 2005  
Blogger jLo said...

My fave line: "My dandy voice makes the most anti-choice granny's panties moist."

6:22 PM, June 20, 2005  

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