Thursday, February 26, 2009

Are You Serious?: OJ Da Juiceman's "Culinary Art School"

Man, you know you're running out cocaine metaphors when you're stealing ideas from those culinary arts commercials that run on local TV in most cities. Here's the one that runs in Portland:

Got to love the phrase "hospitality professional." That means waiter.

Now let's talk OJ Da Juiceman. Following the Young Jeezy rapper model (slow, measured flow, purposely dopey coke metaphors, heavy on ad-libs--in the Juiceman's case "Ay ay ay!"), OJ has built quite the following, enough to convince Cam'Ron to jump on his "Make Em Say Aye" remix with Gucci Mane.

Like Jeezy, it's hard not be charmed on the first listen. The superhero charisma and the goofy bragging are an entertaining combination, plus the beats are usually the kind of low-budget trance rap I love. But unlike Jeezy, the Juiceman does not reward multiple listens. First and foremost, hearing "ay" after every line (every f'n line!) starts to get on your nerves, and if you listen to two or three Juiceman songs in a row, you might just want scream "Nay!" and punch something. As Jim "My Jewish Lawyer" Jones would probably tell you, the key to ad-libs is to sell a kind of shitty rhyme with a silly shout out, like if you were bragging about a purple Benz, you'd yell out "My Barney car!" Just yelling "ay" is not going to cut it.

Secondly, Juiceman's voice is unremarkable. Back when rap bloggers couldn't stop ragging on Jeezy because he's not Rakim, a crucial point was left out: rap is music. There are plenty of singers I love whose lyrics are mediocre to terrible, but it doesn't matter because I like their voices. The same applies to rap to a larger degree than a lot of rap fans are willing to admit. It's what people are talking about when they compare Lil Wayne's nasal whine to Dylan, or talk about how Ghostface raps like he's singing.

Thirdly, and finally, he's not making his silly punchlines work for him. On "Benjamin Franklin," he raps, referring to his money, "like best friends, you can call else Burt and Ernie," but he raps it like he's still just talking about drugs and clothes. For something so completely the opposite of rapper tough talk, the beat should have cut out so that you couldn't miss the line.

Anyway, despite my misgivings, I eagerly await OJ Da Juiceman's " Free Credit Consolidation."