Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Handsome Boy Modeling School - White People


I knew these guys had had some success, so I wasn't overly surprised to hear some cool music and sharp production.  But I was surprised to hear the album open with some pretty ordinary MOR-style hip-hop and rap.  Then some positively Sade-ish crooning.  But finally(!) after much skipping forward and sighing, I was rewarded with Rock And Roll (Could Never Hip Hop Like This) Part 2 which kicks ass, y'all.

But one track doesn't make up for the fact that for the rest of it I was being shuttled between annoyance at some gangsta lyrics (even though they're not saying gangsta is good, it still doesn't mean anything to me) and sheer boredom at the very ordinary, mainstream-style music.  Dan the Automator, were you doing commercial shit here?  'Cause most of it sucks ass.  Apart from the aforementioned track.  Samples Vivaldi.  Features dudes from Linkin Park.  Hot damn.  (YourZ sez: well, you've done it again.  I never thought I'd hear you associate Linkin Park and hot damn.  Not ever...)



Handsome Boy Modeling School is a vehicle for the talents of Dan 'The Automator' Nakamura and Prince Paul, rap producer for De La Soul and Gravediggaz, amongst others.  The two used this as a vehicle to put shit on the vacuousness of high fashion hipsters everywhere.  While this is admirable in itself (because if ever there were a group of wannbes ripe for some honest-to-goodness ridicule, they're it) their attempts at creating humourous characterisations mean in between some great tracks are some seriously cringe-worthy skits.

Rant on - what is it with a lot of hip hop and rap stars who think they can subject their listening public to stupid fucking attempts at comedy?  If I wanted to listen to funny monologues, the last place I'd be looking is in the Urban section of my local record store.  Just because you can rap doesn't mean you're funny.  In fact, the only thing funny about these sad attempts is that these artists continue to fucking do it and annoy me to the point where I'd rather poke my eyes out with a blunt pencil than listen to any more of this shit - Rant off

Phew...  I had to get that off my chest as its been bothering me for some time.  Aside from those skits, most of the tracks on this are worth while, with the exceptions being more due to the particular guests on the track than anything else.  Take for instance Breakdown, which features Jack Johnson.  It just sounds like any other Johnson track, which means it sounds pretty enough but has about as much meat as a tofu burger.  Then there is the very appropriately titled Greatest Mistake, featuring both Jamie Cullum and John Oates, which is fucking woeful.

Thankfully there are tracks on here that redeem the duo including the very excellent Are You Down For It, featuring the genius of Mike Patton, The World's Gone Mad with Del Tha Funky Homosapien and Alex Kapranos and the track Mine took a shine to as well.  Along the way, the guest list on White People expands to include appearances from Cat Power, De La Soul, Qbert, Julee Cruise, Pharrell and The Mars Volta and others.  I just wish they'd eschewed their poor attempts at comedy and concentrated on doing what they do well 'cause when they hit the mark it is worth it.


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