Monday, August 30, 2010


So I saw this video at The Awl, posted as part of some absurd non-story about the writer's inability to understand his own attraction to violence; he writes, apparently in total seriousness, that "watching my five-year-old son shoot imaginary bullets out of a cardboard paper-towel tube or a wooden flute with flowers painted on it or, when there's nothing else available, his fingers, reminds me of when I did the same at the same age, and of the futility of my parents' refusal to buy me toy guns, and of my refusal to buy them for him." It's like nothing in the world ever happened until it happened to this dipshit. Anyway, here's the video. Thoughts to follow.

Yelawolf is a guy whose name I've been hearing for a few weeks now, always spoken/typed by a small clutch of folks whose self-appointed purpose in life is to know the month's buzzworthy rapper and insist that he (it's always he) is the most important thing to happen to "the game" since...I don't know. I don't give a shit. I'm not gonna listen to Gucci Mane, I'm not gonna listen to Lil B, it took me a year or so to download Lil Wayne's Tha Carter III (I think that was the one—it was a two-CD "mixtape") after everyone started blogging (and even writing articles in print publications, for money) that it was the greatest hip-hop event of the decade. I know these names because the websites I visit make these names unavoidable. I don't care, but I know, just like I know the names of all three Kardashian sisters.

Moving on. Yelawolf. He's not a particularly deft rapper, at least not based on this song. The chorus is unimpressive—when he chants "Don't make me go pop the trunk on you" it actually diminishes the momentum and suspense he's built up during the verse. Each verse rises to a crescendo, and then the chorus kind of staggers to a halt, forcing the song to basically start all over again. Imagine someone running up a ramp holding a bucket. You're thinking when he gets to the top of that ramp, he's gonna throw whatever's in that bucket and it's gonna fly everywhere. But when he gets to the top of the ramp, he swings the bucket and it's full of a thick, soggy substance—congealing oatmeal, say, or tapioca pudding—and instead of flying out it just kind of slops onto the ground.

What's interesting to me about Yelawolf is that like Eminem, he's got a lot of (maybe subconscious) Goth in him. Listen to the piano in this song. OK, it's not Goth per se, it's more like a Nine Inch Nails ballad—"Hurt" or "The Day The World Went Away" or any of a half dozen others. This song doesn't match up with its video; the visuals remind me of the opening credits to Justified, which featured a kind of hip-hop/bluegrass blend that was a) much more interesting than "Pop the Trunk" and b) worked perfectly with the images on screen.

No comments: