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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

 

    Ignorance is musical bliss

    There is a time to use rap as a tool to speak to the masses, to inspire uprisings and movements and to speak to the people for a greater good. There is also a time when rap inspires ghost-riding the whip and breaking glass bottles, and a time when it’s just an excuse to sing about Ellen DeGeneres.

    Rap is far more diverse than most people give it credit for. For all the slick production and articulate musicians who dominate the modern rap playing field, there’s been something odd brewing on its benches.

    It’s rap that’s characterized by catchy virulence, a prototypical inability to stay on the beat and a comical facade. And it’s led by Lil B The Based God and Riff Raff — two rappers who are equal parts appalling and compelling.

    While there’s little information on Houston’s Riff Raff, there’s something to be said for a guy with the world’s tightest cornrows and abstract facial hair patterns.

    Riff Raff comes across as a meth-addicted Kevin Federline who claims to be a “part-time King Tut.” How can you not love him? We’re halfway into 2012 and this guy is still proudly rocking iced-out grills. It’d be easy to write him off as a gutter phenomenon, but the 26-year-old MC possesses an intangible infectiousness.

    Look at Riff Raff’s “Marc Jacobs.” I would eat my own shoe if this guy could spell Marc Jacobs’ name correctly on the first try, but what’s important is the song and its visual throwback to the early 2000s.

    The video is reminiscent of Waka Flocka Flame’s “Hard In The Paint,” or virtually any early Odd Future videos: It’s about people dancing in the street and drinking cough syrup out of styrofoam cups. If this isn’t a postmodern American portrait, then I don’t know what is.

    Between Riff Raff’s jack-o-lantern diamond pendant (striking lust into Rick Ross’ heart) and his way-too-wide-eyed stare (Riff Raff may also be a swagged-out zombie), “Marc Jacobs” is going to be the fastest two minutes of your life that you’ll watch over and over again. Anyone who has the balls to rhyme Jacobs with Jacobs has to be respected regardless of his ludicrous nature.

    This leads us to the advent of Lil B The Based God. Even if Lil B was just blowing raspberries into a microphone, I would still unabashedly admire him for the fact that he considers himself a deity.

    The 22-year-old Berkeley, Calif., rapper is the poster boy for viral sensationalism, as his unreal catalog of 1,500 songs generated a wave of buzz.

    There’s no question that the boy has placed quantity far in front of quality, but it’s put him in an echelon of his own. Few 22-year-olds can say they’ve accomplished something similar, and none have done so by writing odes to Dr. Phil, Charlie Sheen and Justin Bieber. There’s nothing more ignorant than claiming to be an incarnation of Miley Cyrus, but lo and behold, The Based God has that covered as well.

    If these guys can’t realize the extent of their impact, or are just too strung out to notice how insane they really are, then the world should stop warring for a moment so that we may pray they both never reproduce. They’re both so terrible that they’re good, or possibly over-criticized idiot savants.

    Regardless of the public’s hyper-polarized stance, this genre should probably be coined as “metarap.” It’s so baffling and catchy that party hits are bound to be culled from it. Yet its elements are singularly underwhelming, making it a paradox unto itself.

    Don’t dwell on the weirdness for too long. If you find yourself in need of a house party hit in the near future, a song about Jose Canseco or Mel Gibson just may be what The Based God ordered.

    K.C. Libman can be reached at arts@wildcat.arizona.edu or on Twitter via @KristianCLibman

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