I haven’t had the pleasure of attending the Edinburgh Fringe Festival, but my wife’s been and she tells me it’s a hoot. Where else can you see experimental underground theatre, stand-up comedy, chap-hop and drunk Scottish people puking in alleyways, all in the same day? Nowhere else, my friend. The EFF has got that shit on lock. Especially the drunk Scottish people part.
About that chap-hop bit: Apparently our tied-for-first-place-on-our-list-of-chap-hop-icons friend Mr. B the Gentleman Rhymer is something of a regular at the Fringe, and he’s returning this year to play 12 nights at the Voodoo Rooms, Aug. 13-25. (He’s taking the Monday off halfway through, no doubt to get his moustache trimmed and waistcoat freshly pressed.) If you’re lucky enough to be hitting the Fringe this year, we highly recommend you go see him. You can score tickets here.
Word round the cricket pitch is that Mr. B will be debuting a few new tunes from his forthcoming piece of Victrola fodder, Can’t Stop, Shan’t Stop. According to the Fringe website, he’ll also enlighten his audience on “choosing event-specific footwear,” “ordering the correct size champagne bottle” and “the appropriate time to arrive at an orgy.” Wish he’d dropped that last bit of knowledge on me back in my Burning Man days.
Let’s play this post out with a new track recently posted to Mr. B’s SoundCloud: a chapified cover of “Diamond Lights,” a song that was apparently made popular in 1987 by a pair of English footballers named Glenn & Chris. It’s England’s answer to “The Super Bowl Shuffle”!
Hey, we get it: Insane Clown Posse aren’t for everyone. Even on this blog, where we frequently praise the Faygo-spewing horrorcore duo in a mostly unironic way, we’ve called them out for being misogynistic morons on at least one occasion. But the worst rappers of all time? Please. They aren’t even the worst rappers from Detroit.
Nevertheless, GQ magazine (that great arbiter of all things hip-hop) and writer Rob Tannenbaum (who co-authored an awesome book called I Want My MTV and whose work we normally admire) saw fit to put ICP at the top of their “definitive list” of “The 25 Worst Rappers of All Time.” Now I probably shouldn’t be casting stones here; Jake and I are both struggling music writers and have put our names to various listicles of which we’re not especially proud. That being said, this GQ list is so far beneath the talents of Mr. Tannenbaum that we’re actually a little concerned for his spiritual well-being. Never mind putting ICP at number one; when you have to pad such a list with the likes of Joaquin Phoenix, Tom Green and Brian fucking Wilson (?!?!), now you’re just dicking around.
Recording artists are supposed to just laugh off this sort of nonsense—especially routinely hated-on acts like ICP, who are pretty much the Nickelback of hip-hop. But they’re not taking this one lying down. “GQ magazine should stick to what they know,” Violent J recently told TMZ. “Dressing preppy metrosexuals.” Oh, snap! How’s that feel, GQ? You just got made lunchmeat in an ICP/TMZ smackdown sandwich.
Ultimately, this little brouhaha was probably best summed up by a fan on ICP’s Facebook page: “I would be offended as a JuGGaLo, if ICP was ranked anything but worst rap group ever by a preppy dude fashion magazine.” Well said, JuGGaLo. Well said.
In other ICP news: Their new show Insane Clown Posse Theater debuts Wednesday, July 24th on Fuse TV. Hardest-workin’ hip-hop clowns in show biz, people! I’ll make Jake post a review/recap just as soon as I can pry the bong from his Cheeto-stained fingers.
Hey, remember that band of douchebags who shut down an L.A. freeway during rush hour? They just got fined $39,000. Party!
Usually I’m all for trying to Stick It to The Man. But when you stick it to my morning commute, I hope The Man stomps on your neck with his big shiny Man-Boots. So I was delighted to learn this morning that Imperial Stars, the band of d-bag rap-rockers whose only claim to fame is shutting down the 101 freeway here in Los Angeles to perform their single “Traffic Jam 101″ for a bunch of fucked L.A. commuters, just got ordered to pay a $39,000 fine for their little publicity stunt. Thirty-nine grand! That’s a lot of Ed Hardy shirts, huh, guys?
Apparently the Imperial boys also had to plead guilty to a felony charge of conspiracy and perform 35 days of community service. I didn’t know parking a truck sideways on a freeway counted as a conspiracy, but I guess it does take some planning, especially when you’re a bunch of fucking morons.
I can’t bring myself to embed the video for “Traffic Jam 101,” but if you must, you can watch it here.
We look forward to mocking your “Help Us Pay Our Legal Bills” Kickstarter soon, guys.
America, your long chap-hop drought is finally about to end. Mr. B the Gentleman Rhymer will soon grace our savage shores with his refined, banjolele-fueled ditties about big pimpin’ Victorian style. Huzzah!
Sadly, the esteemed Mr. B’s Stateside social calendar currently boasts but two invitations: The CONvergence sci-fi and fantasy convention (whose 2013 theme, fittingly, is “British Invasion”) in Minneapolis on July 4th, and the Antiquarian Music Festival at Steamstock, a steampunk festival in the San Francisco Bay Area, on July 28th. Between those two dates, we can only assume he will be making the arduous trek across our great American wildernesses via horseless carriage, or possibly one of these things. Will he call upon various saloons and public houses along the way and delight them with impromptu chap-hop recitals? The gap-toothed hoi polloi between the Twin Cities and the Golden Gate can but fervently hope.
Mr. B hasn’t released any new tunes of late, so we’ll leave you instead with this adorable Steamstock promotional video, featuring the many highlights and elaborate hats of Steamstock 2012. Please to enjoy.
There are few things in this world more satisfying than drawing a Sharpie dick on your friend’s face after he’s conked out from one too many Jägerbombs. But among those few things is a shapely female ass in a thong. So you can imagine my delight when I recently discovered the miracle combination of these two beautiful things that is Passed Out Juggalos.
Passed Out Juggalos is a Facebook page started by a bunch of chicks who go to Gathering of the Juggalos and other events where the eyebrow-pierced fans of Insane Clown Posse congregate, find the dudes who are passed out (trust me, it’s not very hard), and take pictures of themselves shoving their scantily clad asses and boobs in said passed out dudes’ faces. It’s like some kind of crazy, genius cross between teabagging, a strip club lap dance and a Take Back the Night march. Okay, that last part might be a stretch, but you have to admit, there’s a turn-the-tables layer of female empowerment to all this. You could almost call it girl-on-guy sexual harrassment…except that for 99.9% of these guys, unless there’s a huge gay Juggalo contingent we’re unaware of, this is a fucking dream come true. Or it would’ve been if only they’d been awake for it.
Like all true geniuses, the women behind Passed Out Juggalos are misunderstood. Scattered amidst the “Fuck yeah!” and “I wanna pass out when you’re around” comments on their Facebook page is a fairly steady stream of “You’re all dumb sluts” and “Why are you doing this?” POJ girl Neveah answers that last one pretty well in this Q&A she and two other POJ girls did with Vice.com: “It’s hella funny, because you see people hella passed out in these crazy positions that look so uncomfortable. What could be better than putting your ass right in their faces?” Neveah, we hella agree with you 1,000%.
On a related note: Tickets are on sale now for the next Gathering of the Juggalos, happening Aug. 7-11 in Cave-in-Rock, Illinois. Gentlemen, start practicing your uncomfortable-looking fake-passed-out poses now.
Last time we checked in with our avant-hip-hop hero Mission Man, he had decided to finally quit his day job to pursue music full-time. Now it’s three months later and he’s…well, he’s back to the working grind again, but not to worry. The new job is just part-time and as he puts it on his website, “music is a bigger, more beautiful part of my life than it’s ever been!” So Mission Man’s, er, mission to bring “hip-hop without ego” to the masses continues apace.
Last week, Gary “Mission Man” Milholland released his latest opus: A brand-new video for the pep-talk track “Extra” off his most recent album, M”. In true MM fashion, the clip features all sorts of zany composite shots of Mission Man dancing on flowers and planets and flying away in his Chevy Cobalt, plus some scenes of him busting moves in some shitty sports bar that probably doesn’t deserve him, and a whole sequence involving footprints in the snow that hopefully he can explain to us over a beer someday. But our favorite part of the whole video is probably the part where he looks directly into the camera and raps, “You look extra today: Extra tall, extra smart, extra talented, extra sexy, extra amazing.” Back atcha, Gary!
In other Mission Man news, he recently performed a new track, “Love, Funk and Soul,” with a live band. He’s taking this shit to the next level, y’all!
It’s yet another first here at Weird Band HQ: This week, two artists will share the title of Weird Band of the Week. It seems only fitting, since Mr. B the Gentleman Rhymer and Professor Elemental were finally able to quash their long-running feud and agree to share the top of the chap-hop heap.
Let’s back up a bit. “Chap-hop” is a term that, as far as we can tell, was originally coined by Mr. B (real name: Jim Burke), a London rapper who adopted the trappings of the British “Chappist” movement, a subculture devoted to the more genteel ways of Downton Abbey-era England, complete with lots of tweed, liberal use of the word “jolly” and well-manicured facial hair. By combining dandyish style (and an adorably retro instrument called the banjolele) with the rhymes, beats and cocksure attitude of hip-hop, Mr. B created a whole new subgenre of music. Or did he?
This is where it gets interesting. Because you see, before Mr. B ever dropped a rhyme about his watch fob, another chap in nearby Brighton by the name of Professor Elemental (real name: Paul Alborough) was mixing rap with Edwardian swag on songs like “Cup of Brown Joy,” an ode to tea drinking whose loopy, low-budget video has racked up 1.5 million views on YouTube, making it a chap-hop anthem on par with, say, “Gin & Juice.”
Although Professor Elemental initially identified himself as a “steampunk mad scientist” (you can tell he’s steampunk because he sometimes wears goggles on his pith helmet) rather than a practitioner of chap-hop, it wasn’t long before he discovered the existence of Mr. B the Gentleman Rhymer and began drawing battle lines. “I can’t walk down the street these days without being mistaken for Mr. B, or without folk asking if I am going to battle the cad,” he said in an interview with The Chap, the scene’s magazine of record. In 2010, two years after both chap rappers first rose to prominence, he released a song and video called “Fighting Trousers” that called out Mr. B in no uncertain terms.
Mr. B eventually responded with his own shot across the bow, a capital little brag track called “Just Like a Chap.” But by this point, the battle was all in good fun, as you’ll see towards the end when Professor E himself makes a good-natured cameo.
Anyone wishing to further weigh the relative merits of chap-hop’s two leading lights should peruse footage from this 2011 “chap-off.”
Although we do find Professor Elemental’s Jules Verne-inspired zaniness entertaining, and although he certainly meets the criteria for weirdness set out by our esteemed blog (the fellow has a gorilla butler named Geoffrey for a sidekick, by Jove), we tend to find Mr. B the Gentleman Rhymer a more satisfyingly polished performer. Maybe it’s the banjolele that gives him his edge. Or this video. Or the fact that, unlike Professor E, he seems to know how to use a straight razor.
It’s worth noting that Mr. B and Prof E have inspired a whole chap-hop movement, and there’s now a host of other artists busting rhymes like it’s 1899: Poplock Holmes, Class Rhymes and Reginald Pikedevant, Esquire, to name only a few. At this rate, chap-hop seems poised to outlast the post-Downtown Abbey acting career of that fool who played Matthew Crawley. Seriously, why would anyone quit the best show ever on British television? What a cad.
P.S. We almost forgot to thank readers Wallicoth and Charm Man for introducing us to the joys of chap-hop. Good show, gents!
- Mr. B the Gentleman Rhymer official site
- Professor Elemental official site
- The Chap-Hop Shop (Mr. B’s online store)
- Professor Elemental on Bandcamp
- Professor Elemental on Facebook
- Mr. B the Gentleman Rhymer on Facebook
- Mr. B on Tumblr
- “In ‘Chap-Hop,’ Gentlemen Rappers Bust Rhymes About Tea, Cricket” (good article about chap-hop from, of all places, the Wall Street Journal)
- Professor Elemental’s catalog on Amazon.com
- Mr. B’s catalog on Amazon.com
It’s another first here at TWBITW—our first-ever guest post. The author is Rebecca Metz, creator of Vagina News, a blog that discusses women’s issues and vaginas in the news. (How often are vaginas in the news? More often that you might realize, especially because when they are, everyone tends to scrupulously avoid saying the word “vagina.”) She also happens to be my wife, so y’all be nice to her, K?
Rebecca has a keen eye for misogynistic horseshit, so we decided to ask for her insights into the latest video from Insane Clown Posse, “Hate Her to Death.” But first, let’s watch and judge for ourselves, shall we?
Now, let’s get Rebecca’s take:
I didn’t know a lot about Insane Clown Posse. I knew they were bald guys in clown makeup who didn’t understand how magnets worked. I knew their fans were called Juggalos, and Juggalos sometimes look like Goths, but they’re not the same thing, because I once saw a guy ask a couple of Goths if they were Juggalos, and the Goths had never heard of Juggalos. And that’s what I knew about Insane Clown Posse.
Then I watched the video for “Hate Her to Death.”
So there’s this cheerleader the Insane Clown Posse guys like. A lot. She’s funny and caring and pretty and bendy and they like to draw pictures of her radiating a Jesus-like aura. (In the video, ICP are represented by a sad loner. We know he’s a sad loner because he’s wearing the sad loner uniform—a black hoodie—and he’s an artist, the official hobby of sad loners. Sad loners are all one pretty cheerleader away from the next great graphic novel.)
Anyway, the problem is that she “don’t belong to” our clowny heroes. She may or may not belong to one of several hipster bullies—but she definitely KNOWS them, because they show her the cheerleader-as-Jesus drawing. But instead of leaping into the sad loner’s arms upon seeing herself as Jesus, she goes to the gym and stretches, because she’s dumb or selfish or something.
And while the sad loner could just tell her he thinks she’s incredible/unforgettable/breathtaking/earthshaking and see what happens, come ON. She should KNOW that from the picture, right? What does he have to do, come out and say his feelings in WORDS? LAME.
So since he’s being bullied by hipsters and the cheerleader doesn’t love him (which is stupid of her, everyone knows sad loners make the best boyfriends) and he doesn’t seem to have friends or parents or a therapist to talk to, the cheerleader clearly has to die. It’s so sad. For him.
Well, first she has to watch her bully-hipster-maybe-boyfriend die, because that kind of thing makes cheerleaders feel terrible, and eliciting terrible feelings is Step One in Hating Someone to Death. But ICP are super sensitive to concerns about school violence, so they avoid the sorts of weapons people are always freaking out about, and kill the hipster by first choking him with a magic spell and then stabbing him with a pen. Everybody loves magic and pens!
ICP also understand that, while the cheerleader totally deserves to be the object of the sad loner’s rage because she’s happy and he’s not, killing pretty girls is among people’s least favorite kinds of killing, so you have to be real subtle about it. What to do, what to do… AHA! Crumple up the cheerleader-as-Jesus picture in an act of murder-foreshadowing! (They make sure to say “I fucking hate her to death” a bunch of times at the end so we’ll know what the crumpled picture means. It’s like poetry. Video poetry. Voetry.)
Thanks to “Hate Her to Death”, I know a lot more about Insane Clown Posse. I know they lack basic communication skills, don’t know how to process unpleasant emotions, and support violence against women as a means of expressing anger—but in an über-creative way that makes it awesome instead of representative of a serious cultural problem. I know they like to hang out in badly-lit libraries. And… that’s it. Am I a Juggalo now?
I’m not gonna lie: When Jake and I first started this blog, it was a full-on sausage party. For about the first year or so, I think pretty much the only female presence on the entire site was Miss Pussycat. But chicks like weirdin’ it up as much the boys do, and we’re finally taking baby steps towards some semblance of equal gender time with recent Weirdos of the Week like Petunia-Liebling MacPumpkin and Miss Von Trapp. Sorry it took us awhile, ladies.
We’re continuing our female-friendly trend this week with the long-overdue addition of Iowa’s craziest product this side of the hot beef sundae: Leslie Hall, the queen of bejeweled sweaters, gold spandex jumpsuits, high-STER-ical dance videos and geeky electro/hip-hop party jams as sleek and stylin’ as the aforementioned gold spandex jumpsuits.
Hall became a minor Internet celebrity not, at first, with her music, but with her sweater collection: an online “Gem Sweater Museum” that went viral back around the time people started saying things like “go viral.” In an NPR interview, she later claimed that the music began as a side project to pay off her bandwidth overage charges: “I’ll put out a hip-hop album, sell CDs, get rich and famous, and this bill will go away.” Her first album, released in 2005, was called Gold Pants because, according to another interview, “65% of the comments on my [Gem Sweater Museum website] were about my gold pants.”
Amazingly, working with just GarageBand and, as far as we’ve been able to learn, no real musical training (she actually has a fine art background), Hall has since pumped out five albums’ worth of cheeky, increasingly polished dance pop, over which she raps and/or sings about dancing, her sweaters, crafting, her pants, dancing, and how awesome she is. And, one time, killing zombies. But mostly about dancing.
With her chunky glasses and chunkier physique, Hall is like the anti-Katy Perry—a shiny gold beacon of the uncool-as-cool, a reminder to us all that no matter what you look like, all it takes to be fabulous is the right attitude and maybe a good dance move or two. And a gem-covered sweater never hurts, either.
P.S. A big ol’ sloppy thank-you to reader Susan Molnar for recently introducing us to the wonders of Leslie Hall, which we had somehow managed to miss previously. Clearly, we need to get out more. Or maybe we need to get out less—and spend more time on YouTube.
P.P.S. Banner photo of Leslie and her white tiger sidekicks by Kai Chan, lifted from this article.
Washington and Lincoln are cool and all, but they’ve also been dead for like a hundred years. And why celebrate a bunch of dead white dudes when you can celebrate the living, breathing people who put on clown makeup and crank horrorcore hip-hop with hidden Christian messages?
Yes, Sunday, Feb. 17th is the 2nd Annual Juggalo Day, a holiday to celebrate the awesomeness that is Insane Clown Posse‘s batshit fan base. Technically, Presidents’ Day is the next day, but after partying like a Juggalo, you’re gonna sleep through that shit like someone put Roofies in your Faygo.
According to ICP’s newsletter, the Hatchet Herald, ICP themselves are gonna celebrate Juggalo Day by performing their classic 1995 album Riddle Box in its entirety at St. Andrews Hall in Detroit. If you can’t get to Detroit, we recommend celebrating Juggalo Day with a few bong rips and blasting Riddle Box loud enough to get evicted. If you do get kicked out, you can always blame it on the FBI.
In other ICP news, the 2013 Gathering of the Juggalos has been confirmed for Aug. 7-11 (numbers dear to every Juggalo’s heart) in Cave-in-Rock, Illinois. Maybe Andy and I will finally go this year, but probably not. We’re old.
Let’s play this post out with one of the most popular tracks from Riddle Box, “Chicken Huntin’.” We hear Abe Lincoln knew what to do with a drunken hillbilly, too.