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 » Full Dark, No Stars - Stephen King's new novella questions mankind's ability to trust others.
[02.21.2011 by Bridget Doyle]

MUSIC

 » The Top 30 Albums of 2010 - Fashionably, fabulously late, our favorite music (and believe me, there was a LOT) of 2010, the year that some have called the best year for music ever. And only some of those fools work here. Plenty of usual suspects, lots of ties and a few surprises that I won't spoil, including our unexpected #1.
[12.24.2010 by The LAS Staff]

MUSIC

 » Live: Surfer Blood/The Drums at Lincoln Hall, Chicago, IL - Remember when Weezer used to put together records that you could sing along to and rock out to? That's what Surfer Blood's show was like!
[11.04.2010 by Cory Tendering]

Music Reviews

Screaming Females - Castle Talk
»Screaming Females
Castle Talk
Don Giovanni
Trent Reznor & Atticus Ross - The Social Network [Original Soundtrack]
»Trent Reznor & Atticus Ross
The Social Network [Original Soundtrack]
The Null Corporation
Deerhunter - Halcyon Digest
»Deerhunter
Halcyon Digest
4AD
No Age - Everything in Between
»No Age
Everything in Between
Sub Pop
Robyn - Body Talk Pt. 1/ Body Talk Pt. 2
»Robyn
Body Talk Pt. 1/ Body Talk Pt. 2
Konichiwa
The Walkmen - Lisbon
»The Walkmen
Lisbon
Fat Possum
Goldie Lookin Chain
Straight Outta Newport
Record Collection Music

Rating: 6/10 ?


June 17, 2005
Rap, and more specifically hip-hop, has come a long way. The history depends on who you ask, but most agree that Run DMC, Public Enemy and N.W.A. played crucial roles in bringing the style to the mainstream, and eventually names such as Tupac, Notorious B.I.G., Jay-Z and Talib Kweli capitalized on the weight of social relevance that the genres began to carry.

The pervasion of hip-hop culture into society had the same effect of a new wave of immigration spilling over onto the shores of every major city in the United States. Along came new slang, garb and trends which were all struck with harsh criticism and prejudice. But soon enough, youth caught on and hip-hop began to live large - their fortune provided by the media and monetary support of this new generation.

It is partially shocking, then, to see acts from characteristically un-hip-hop backgrounds invade the culture of those that are more innately engrained in the lifestyle. The shock value has slightly lost its edge because we have seen it all: from the white rap prototype Eminem, to the white UK rapper Streets, to the black Brit rapper Roots Manuva, to the woman, Hispanic, rural and nerd rappers.

Goldie Lookin Chain exemplifies, and perhaps even initiates, another niche within rap - if only by technical definition. The posse from Newport, UK rips through British colloquialisms and comedic quips with the speed and technique of practiced MCs, but overall they give off the presence of eight British, ganja-smoking Weird Als. It's hard to shake the notion that this collective isn't just an aural adaptation of Whiteboys - the movie about a group of teen boys from Iowa who aspire to be famous rappers - or Jamie Kennedy's Malibu's Most Wanted.

There is some part of Straight Outta Newport that is talent-crafted and creative, but a greater portion slips along through lampooning lyrical ideas; even the title is a parody of the rap pillar, NWA's Straight Outta Compton. The album is literally a series of silly ideas, as the material was compiled from the band's previous CD-R self-releases.

The slapstick begins with "Self Suicide," a clarinet-led, Paddington Bear background scenesetter with a grooving hip-hop beat over the top. The song introduces the band's intentional moronics as they rap about musicians and social characters that killed themselves or were killed: "Committing suicide to enhance my career/It worked for Biggy and Tupac Shakur/Jesus was nailed up to some wood/2000 years later, book sales are still good." The words are somewhat witty, if removed from the outlandish delivery and accent style of each of the MCs - Xain anxiously rushes, Eggsie sounds like a British overdub for the Cookie Monster and the chorus is a mash up of the entire group spelling the word 'suicide' wrong.

Many of the track titles make the junior high comedy level blatantly obvious without even revealing the lyrics - "Guns Don't Kill People, Rappers Do," "Roller Disco," "Your Mother's Got a Penis," and "You Knows I Loves You." Even tracks that suggest something of a serious topic ("Time to Make a Change") prove through joke lyrics that these boys are a goofy, one-dimensional bunch.

Members of Goldie Lookin Chain show they can blend elements of hip-hop and comedy, but for the overshadowing nature of the latter, Straight Outta Newport makes questionable any sort of grand musical potential. In the big picture of hip-hop, music - as well as wit and ingenuity - have always been the precursors of status.

Reviewed by Josh Zanger
Joshua Ian Zanger, a native of rural Chicago, rocks many a world with his writing, style, and generally sweet aroma.

See other reviews by Josh Zanger

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