And in late-breaking news, MC Paul Barman has fulfilled his quote-a.
Brown University’s most prominent rapper brings an album’s worth of geeky-cocky Caucasian rhyme, and the results are Ivy League in the worst way. Whereas 2000’s It’s Very Stimulating EP matched Barman’s seedy nasal flow with an unabashed middle-class overeducation, Paullelujah! uses Barman’s eloquent sexual frustration as a cheesy novelty device.
It’s tough to pinpoint just how things went wrong this time around, but lead single “Cock Mobster” is just a collection of dirty couplets about famous people; the only thing that puts it over and above the Nails’ “88 Lines About 44 Women” is that it name-checks Maxine Hong Kingston and Kim Gordon. In fact, the best rhyme on the cut – “My dandy voice makes even the most anti-choice granny’s panties moist” – was cribbed from Stimulating’s raucous duet with Princess Superstar.
Similarly, “N.O.W.” and “Burping & Farting” are mere gimmickry, all the more so since producer MikeTheMusicGuy has a marked ability to create tracks that sound like everything you’ve heard before. There are standout tracks – the MF DOOM-produced “Anarchist Bookstore Pt. 1” matches a quirky beat, dense flow, and savvy parody, while “Bleeding Brain Grow” rips off, of all things, the “Reading Rainbow” theme – but they are, unfortunately, the exception.
The rule that these exceptions prove is that Barman, having built his name on using literacy to create exemplary rhymes, now uses his rhymes to proclaim his exemplary literacy. Paullelujah! is a “hip hop album” the same way Tenacious D is a “heavy metal band.” Barman, once a witty rapper, has let himself become merely a clever “rapper.”
[DJ Fatkid wears the cowboy hat. You do not wear the cowboy hat.]