It happens to the best of us: We get old, start having babies, rediscover the joys of blanket forts and bedtime stories, and lose our “edge.” Fortunately for MC Frontalot, nerdcore hip-hop was never especially edgy to begin with. So for him to make a children’s album doesn’t sound like a huge stretch.
But wait: He’s not just rapping nursery rhymes. On Question Bedtime, Front reinterprets classic fairy tales with a whole slew of fellow rappers and famous friends, including Kid Koala, MC Chris, Jean Grae, Busdriver and one of the funniest dudes on the planet, comedian Paul F. Tompkins. The album isn’t due out until Aug. 16th, but you can hear a track called “Much Chubbier” right now over at The A.V. Club. Based on the Norwegian folk tale of the “Three Billy Goats Gruff,” it co-stars rapper Open Mike Eagle as the troll. It’s fun stuff, even for us grownup types.
Frontalot has a slew of U.S. tour dates coming up following the release of Question Bedtime. And need I mention that he’ll also be appearing at Comic-Con? With a Star Wars-themed burlesque troupe, no less. Cue the nerd stampede! (Tickets for that show are available, probably not for long, here.)
MC Frontalot 2014 tour:
Aug. 19—Rex Theater—Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
Aug. 20—Tiger Room at CS3—Fort Wayne, Indiana
Aug. 21—Subterranean—Chicago, Illinois
Aug. 25—TBD—Denver, Colorado
Aug. 26—The Stateroom—Salt Lake City, Utah
Sept. 1—El Corazon—Seattle, Washington
Sept. 2—Dante’s—Portland, Oregon
Sept. 4—Brick & Mortar—San Francisco, California
Sept. 7—TBD—Phoenix, Arizona
Sept. 9—Three Links—Dallas, Texas
Sept. 10—TBD—Austin, Texas
Sept. 11—TBD—Houston, Texas
Sept. 12—Northgate Tavern—Baton Rouge, Louisiana
Sept. 13—Beatnik—New Orleans, Louisiana
Sept. 14—Center Stage—Atlanta, Georgia
Sept. 16—TBD—Charlotte, North Carolina
Sept. 17—King’s Barcade—Raleigh, North Carolina
Sept. 18—TBD—Baltimore, Maryland
Sept. 19—North Star Bar—Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
Sept. 20—TBD—New York, New York
So we kinda blew this one, guys. For the past three years, the weirdest hip-hop band on the planet has been Death Grips. And before we could get around to adding them to the Weird List, they broke up. Oops.
It’s not like they were toiling in obscurity. If anything, I think we were inclined to pay less attention to them because they were getting so much goddamned attention. Nothing that hyped, that embraced by the mainstream—signed to Epic Records, downloaded over 124 million times on BitTorrent, named one of the best albums of 2012 by NP fucking R—could possibly be that weird, right?
Wrong. Death Grips were a defiant, aggro, unheralded mix of rap, punk rock, noise and electronic glitch that almost gets more mind-blowing the longer you listen to it. And for their short lifespan, they churned out material at such a breakneck pace that even now that they’ve broken up, they’ve still promised fans one last double LP later this year, to go with three full-length albums, an EP and a mixtape, all released over the course of about two and a half years.
They were also totally uncompromising in the way they managed their career. Yes, they signed to a major label, but when that major label wouldn’t release their second LP, No Love Deep Web, less than a year after their first one, they leaked it themselves via BitTorrent (hence that record-breaking number of downloads), complete with cover art featuring the album title scrawled across a half-erect penis. Not surprisingly, Epic Records dropped them shortly after that little stunt.
Then came their breakup last week, which they announced via a scribbled note on a dinner napkin, posted on their Facebook page. “we are now at our best,” the noted began, “and so Death Grips is over. we have officially stopped.” This just weeks before they were scheduled to embark on a massive North American tour opening for Nine Inch Nails. Most of the 5,000-plus comments on the breakup note are variations on this one: “WHY?????” But Death Grips clearly felt they never needed to explain anything they did to anyone.
So what happens now? The band’s most famous member, freak-of-nature drummer Zach Hill, will probably go back to any number of his other projects, the foremost of which is his experimental math-rock band Hella. Producer/keyboardist Andy “Flatlander” Morin will probably make a synth-pop album. Tattooed frontman MC Ride can probably do anything he damn well pleases now, although it’s hard to imagine him ever coming out with anything that matches Death Grips’ intensity.
For those (probably few) of you who still haven’t experienced Death Grips in all their craziness, we’ll leave you with a couple of videos. The first features one of the glitchier moments on their debut mixtape, Ex Military:
Now here’s “No Love” from No Love Deep Web, which captures their balls-out live show. Kinda sucks that these guys may very well never perform together again, doesn’t it?
Finally, we must end this post with a shout-out to the many readers who tried to convince us to pay attention to Death Grips sooner: Patrick S., KrazyTrilla, Matt S., Frostoriuss and Steffon R. You guys totally called it. Death Grips is dead, long live Death Grips.
Sorry, Juggalos: According to a federal judge, the cops can still classify you as a gang.
The Associated Press released a story today confirming that Detroit federal Judge Robert Cleland tossed Insane Clown Posse‘s lawsuit against the FBI in which they sought to nullify a 2011 report listing ICP fans as a “loosely organized hybrid gang.” According to the AP, Judge Cleland deemed that the report can’t be retracted because “the government isn’t responsible for acts by local police agencies that use the 2011 report.” Which presumably means that ICP’s only move now would be to literally sue every state and local police department in the country that has any history of targeting Juggalos. Which is probably, unfortunately, most of them.
In response to the judge’s decision, Violent J and Shaggy 2 Dope issued the following statement via their Facebook page:
Juggalos, our legal team and our partners at the ACLU of Michigan are appealing this completely wack decision to dismiss our case. THIS IS NOT OVER! AT ALL! Rest assured that we’re still fighting for YOU and our entire Juggalo family. Read this press release from the ACLU and you’ll see that we still have a very strong case … and we ain’t stoppin’ SHIT! STAY STRONG, FAMILY! We ain’t goin’ down! WHOOP WHOOP!
The ACLU press release they reference is way less fun to quote, but says, in effect, that they’ll appeal the judge’s dismissal of the case.
As we’ve said before and will say again: Regardless of your personal feelings about Juggalos, this is clearly an important case for civil liberties and First Amendment rights. By claiming that the criminal actions of a few Juggalos make the entire fan base guilty by association, the FBI opened the door for any law enforcement agency to arbitrarily classify any social group as a criminal gang based on the actions of just a few of its members. It’s not a great leap to imagine that if this case goes unresolved, some dipshit state or local police department could cite it as precedent for targeting ravers next. Or metalheads. Or freakin’ Bronies. It’s just a slippery slope into Crazytown to assume that a tattoo of your favorite band’s logo is the equivalent of, say, an Aryan Brotherhood swastika.
So stay strong, Juggalos! Justice is on your side.
Let’s roll a fatty and watch Insane Clown Posse’s infomercial for the 2014 Gathering of the Juggalos
How have we not reported anything yet about the 2014 edition of Insane Clown Posse‘s annual Gathering of the Juggalos? What the fuck is wrong with us? You’d think we’ve been high for the last six months or something. Oh, wait…
Anyway, the 15th annual GOTJ has a brand-new location this year: the awesomely named Legend Valley in Thornville, Ohio. Tickets are still on sale and it all goes down July 23-27, so you people still have a month to buy us a pair. C’mon, please? After all we’ve done for you? Fine, we’ll just follow the whole thing on Twitter again.
I could bore you all with a bunch of words about how it’s gonna be interesting as fuck, what with all the awesome rappers and bands playing and all the hot Juggalettes who might sit on your head if you pass out. But reading? Fuck that. Let’s watch a 23-minute infomercial instead.
I don’t know about, but I need to relax after all that excitement. So let’s play this post out with a soothing death ballad from Psychopathic Records artist and GOTJ performer Boondox. Pour one out!
Hey, Brits: You know that cello player who busks in the pedestrian underpass near your work every day? The one you tossed like 50p to the first time you saw him and haven’t given him shit since? What if one day you went down there, and he was wearing a death mask and accompanying three rappers in black hoodies? You’d give him all your fuckin’ money then, wouldn’t you?
But don’t worry, Ceiling Demons aren’t as scary as they look. They’re actually quite nice, introspective lads, as this video for their new track “Amputated Spirit” shows. The masks are just so the other rappers won’t fuck with them on account of them being so nice and all.
“Amputated Spirit” will be released as a single this Friday, June 13th. To celebrate, Ceiling Demons will make their album Dual Sides available as a free download via Bandcamp for a limited time. See? I told you they were nice.
OK, weirdos, we’re about to get all educational up in this bitch, courtesy of L.A. rapper The Koreatown Oddity. The Oddity is the creation of a dude named Dominique Purdy, who raps beneath a disturbingly detailed wolf mask and makes videos that mainly feature him wandering the streets of L.A. and freaking out the locals. He’s got a new album out tomorrow called 200 Tree Rings, but this is an older track from the Eat a Dead Goat mixtape, which we love because it’s both funny as hell and will help you win at pub trivia. Remember, kids: Technically, Barack Obama is only the 43rd president, because Grover Cleveland always gets counted twice, which is kind of bullshit when you think about it.
We first ran across Zebra Katz when we were doing research for our Weird Band of the Week post about fellow queer hip-hop artist Le1f. He’s produced a lot of eye-popping videos, but never anything as colorful as his new video for “Tear the House Up,” a collaboration with British DJ/producer Hervé. The track itself is fun but pretty straightforward, minimalist electro-house, but the video, directed by Ghost+Cow, is some of the best eyeball crack we’ve seen in a long time.
Gonna watch it again right now, aren’t you? We thought you might.
You can buy “Tear the House Up” via iTunes.
We still can’t get enough of Polish hip-hop producer Donatan‘s Równonoc: Słowiańska dusza project, which celebrates Polish history and culture by lining up seemingly every rapper in his country and having them bust rhymes over Slavic folk music. But we’re less enamored of his more contemporary collaborations with rapper/singer Cleo, who we’re going to keep describing as Poland’s answer to Fergie until she proves us wrong. But we’re going to share their latest track “Slavica” with you anyway, because even when Donatan is cranking out cheesy, mainstream hip-hop, he’s still pretty weird.
“Slavica” is basically a sequel to Donatan and Cleo’s smash hit “My Słowianie,” except it’s sung in English and the video features more twerking. Like, way, way more twerking. Like, Miley Cyrus would watch this and go, “Woah, tone it down, guys” levels of twerking. It also continues Donatan’s up-with-Slavs theme, which was fun for a while but we think might be wearing a bit thin at this point. Or are we being too harsh?
Ultimately, though, who gives a shit what we think, because in the two weeks since the video for “Slavica” hit YouTube, it’s already racked up over 6 million views. So clearly Donatan’s hot-chicks-with-chickens formula is working. You might even say it’s reliable like a Kalashnikov.
You know what I bet you didn’t think you’d see when you woke up this morning? A bunch of French dudes dressed up like knights spitting French gangsta rap. Well, prepare to have your day slapped sideways by Stupeflip.
We don’t really understand what’s going on with Stupeflip, either. But for more, check out their website. Or their Last.fm page, which is in English. Or even buy their shit on Amazon. Once you’ve figured it out, report back to us, OK? Oh, and join us in giving a big “Merci” to reader Lou for sharing this video with us.
When I did a post a couple weeks back about Well Worn Boot’s Wild Wild Fest, there was one act on the lineup I couldn’t get out of my head: Jack Topht, a bearded Buffalo rapper who reminds me of every functioning alcoholic I went to high school with in Upstate. Jack simultaneously makes me want to go back to Buffalo and stay as far the fuck away from there as I can. He’s awesome and I bet hanging out with him would turn me into a non-functioning alcoholic in a hurry.
Most of Jack Topht’s songs are about things like beer, pizza and hospital waiting rooms, but this track, which is my favorite, is a little more epic. It’s called “Why Live When You Can Die” and it’s basically his “Hey Ya!”, “Sabotage” and “99 Problems” all rolled into less than two minutes.