Thursday, March 19, 2009

Really a Revolutionary

mc chris is the favorite nerd rapper of many and probably also the least favorite nerd rapper of a sizable number, but he is undeniably one with which most have a genuine familiarity. And love him or lump him, mc always has something interesting going on. Through his decade-long musical evolution he has experimented with punk, breakbeat and guitar pop, but has eternally remained the same high-toned honky.

Over the weekend, I spent a good deal of time listening to the latter half of his discography, most specifically 2006’s Dungeon Master of Ceremonies and 2008’s mc chris is dead, and I came to the staggering conclusion that I actually prefer his more recent work. (I fully realize that this runs counter to the most exclusionary, esoteric leanings of asshole music fans everywhere, but I say true!) So, when I was offered a chance to hear the first volume of mc’s new EP project, I was happy to do so.

Part Six Part One – which we can at least assume will be a six-part collection, though, knowing mc, we certainly can’t be surprised if it is not – picks up where his previous full length left off. mc chris is still dead, and he finds himself in hell. In typical mc style, this concept runs through the albums 3 skits but doesn’t necessarily bleed over into the EP’s 4 new songs. That being said, there is a topic that does seem to regularly crop up and bind the project together.

P6P1 boasts an urgent, glitchy dance track about how mc chris likes to fuck ("Awesome Fucker"), an epic spy-themed rocker about fucking ("006") and even a skit about fucking the devil ("Dirty Dick") and also abortion. But while this album goes out of its way to be filthy, it does have more to offer than just dirty talk.

Though my thoughts concerning skits are well known by this point, the dialog in two-parter "Deep Space Travel" and "Rocky’s Robot Butler" seemingly serve as the bedrock for the Part Six series. In the style of Dante Alighieri, mc strikes a deal with the Great Infernal One: should he be able to traverse the various levels of Hell, he will be granted one wish. His original leaning, to wish for the robot from Rocky IV, is eventually discarded in favor of bartering for the freedom of his eternal soul. Again, this could serve as the foundation for EPs yet to come, or it could just be mc chris fucking with us as this release is slated to drop in early April.

But putting the prospect of idle bullshittery aside, Part Six Part One’s musical selections are varied, intriguing and stylistically satisfying. "006" and "Awesome Fucker," on which I’ve already elucidated, pair a more traditional mc chris swagger with some interesting musical backing, but the EP’s other two tracks change up the game in new and exciting ways. "Gauges," for example,  is a light, atmospheric meditation on long-distance romances that is easily on par with mc’s classic complicated love songs like "Cookie Breath" and "Arulpragasam."

Yet the release’s real haymaker is the laughably titled "IG88’s 57 Chevy." This borderline crunk-soul hybrid is unlike anything you’ve heard form mc chris before. "Fett's Vette" may be mc’s "Baby Got Back," but this song sure as fuck ain’t "Put 'Em on the Glass!" Far from a formulaic cash-in, it is a self-aware exploration of new styles. Will it end up on a movie soundtrack? Probably not, but that doesn’t make it any less listenable.

If you are a lover of all things mc chris, you have likely already put your money down on Part Six Part One. If you are a sworn enemy of the once and future MC Pee Pants, you won’t even bother to torrent it when it invariably hits Pirate Bay. But if you are a fan of nerdy music that is looking for a really fun (if often explicit) diversion, this EP is tough to beat.

With the final release a couple of weeks away, pre-orders are still available through Indie Merch. It’s a solid EP that is worth the meager $10 price tag. And should you have a little extra scratch to spend left over from your tax refunds, you might also consider tossing some money into the pot for mc's cystic fibrosis charity. Fans have already donated almost $30,000, but the fund can’t reach it’s $50,000 yearly goal without continued assistance.

If you’re looking for another way to help, be sure to check out mc’s YouTube channel for information on his charity eBay auctions. Each week mc chris collects a fine assortment of geeky games, books and related ephemera, and the money raised from the sale of these items goes to help fight cystic fibrosis. This week’s items are all Indiana Jones themed, so check it out. And, in the words of Short Round, hold onto your potatoes.

UPDATE: I've just been informed that Part Six Part One should be available next week. Further, it will be split into 4 parts. The more you know!


Jimi said...

I'm one of those people who isn't that into MC Chris's music, but he's a pretty cool bloke with the charity and all

Z. said...

Honestly, Jimi, I'd suggest giving this EP a listen. It's got a wide array of new sounds, and really delivers something exciting.

In fact, I'll see if I can get play clearance for the next podcast so as to give y'all a taste. :)

Jesse Dangerously said...

I totally agree Chris' technique and acuity has improved over time.

Also don't knock PUT EM ON THE GLASS! Way better than Baby Got Back.

Z. said...

And he's really managed to ratchet up his speed and diction as well. I think you may've rubbed off on him, Jesse. ;)

And I never said BGB was better; I merely implied that PEOTG was derivative.

Justin said...

I have to agree Z, I enjoy his early stuff, but in each album he just gets better and better. MC Chris is Dead is easily my favorite from him right now. On a tagent, any one picked up Player's Handbook 2? The new Penny Arcade podcasts have me on a D&D mood again. Plus Wil Wheaton was a great addition to their team.

Z. said...

Thanks, Justin. I know we're supposed to go with the old "I like his old stuff best" party line, but I really think his newer work has more depth and wider musicality.

I have note snagged the PH2 yet, but Wil & co have made me consider it. If I can make it down for 'Palooza again this year, we'll have to get our D&D on! :)