Thursday, January 22, 2009
Above: Aerosmith and Run DMC, 1986 - Forgive them, O Lord, they know not what they do.
Although bound to collide at some point due to their aggressive natures, Rap and Metal didn't meet until the mid 80's. Def Jam Records, with the guidance of super-producer Rick Rubin, realized there was money to be made by joining these two disparate genres, and the first sighting of Hard Rock and Hip-Hop groups working together was Aerosmith and Run DMC's collaborative remake of "Walk This Way". At the time, it seemed like a great idea. But in retrospect, this song opened the floodgates for a whole generation of terrible music, and paved the way for some of the worst musicians mankind has ever known to showcase their suckitude. Here I present the sad tale of American Rap-Metal in its entirety, from its humble and naive beginnings to modern atrocities committed in the name of this horrible cultural mistake.
- THE "MANAGEABLE" YEARS: 1986-1992
Taking their cue from Aerosmith and Run DMC, New York thrashers Anthrax released the infamous "I'm The Man" EP in 1987, blending rap vocals in with their distinctive blend of speedy Metal. This, of course, signalled the beginning of the end for Anthrax, and, as their hardcore fans cried "sellout", they quickly devolved into a sad hyrid band, releasing awful albums like "Attack of The Killer B's" and "The Sound of White Noise" on their sad descent into lameness.
The following year, Public Enemy (below) pulled off one of the first and only Rap-Metal triumphs ever recorded, sampling Def Jam labelmates Slayer's "Angel of Death" on the track "She Watch Channel Zero". Somehow, Public Enemy was able to do no wrong at the time, and the song stands as one of the best on their 1988 classic "It Takes A Nation of Millions To Hold Us Back". P.E. was the kind of group that could incorporate Metal into their sound without sounding weak and corny, a trick no major act has been able to imitate since.
Soon, hundreds of Alternative/Metal/Funk/Rap hybrids were popping up everywhere, diluting the sacred metal purity and shaming the true. Hell, even can't-miss hardcore/thrash unit The Accused (below) put a "rap" song on their 1990 "Grinning Like An Undertaker" LP, a weak little ditty called "Down & Out" featuring fellow Seattleite The Mad Poet (a side note to The Accused: touring without Blaine = WEAK). These small mis-steps could be forgiven in some cases, but no one saw the dark clouds forming on the horizon, the onslaught of downright appalling music that the 90's would bring.
Below: The only definite "high point" in the history of Rap-Metal, Public Enemy and Anthrax's "Bring The Noize", off of P.E.'s album "Apocalypse 91".
1992 brought the release of what proved to be the death knell for legitimate Rap-Metal, Ice-T brainchild Body Count's self-titled debut album. Even with 20/20 hindsight, I really can't decide whether I love or hate this record. It's definitely poorly thought out and performed, the songs are repetitive and annoying, and Ice-T's half-ass delivery borders on utter uselessness. But I still listen to it. A LOT. "Cop Killer" really pumps my nads. Go figure.
- THE WINTER OF OUR DISCONTENT: 1992-2002
Above and below: Harbingers of the coming Plage - "Judgement Night" soundtrack (1993) and Rage Against The Machine's self-titled debut (1992).
The Dark Ages of Rap-Metal arrived in the form of 2 albums, shown above. Rage Against The Machine's Funk-Metal-meets-bad-Hip-Hop psuedo-revolutionary anthems opened the door to the greatest foe True Metal has ever faced, Nu-Metal, while the equally "revolutionary" soundtrack to the terrible film "Judgement Night" brought Alternative Rock and Rap artists together, producing great commercial success but some of the worst songs ever released. Such ill-conceived collaborations as Pearl Jam / Cypress Hill, Mudhoney / Sir Mix-A-Lot, and Dinosaur Jr / Del tha Funkee Homosapien appeared here, ushering in an age when ANY vaguely rappy artist could duet with ANY vaguely metallic artist and achieve some degree of monetary gain. One of the most insidious of these pairings was Onyx and Biohazard, two groups that should have never, ever, ever met.
Below: The Biohazard/Onyx crossover anthem "Slam", which summed up the rap/metal/jock mindset perfectly with its insepid chorus-
"SLAM! DUH DUH DUH, DUH DUH DUH, DUH DUH DUH, LET THE BOYS BE BOYS!"
Arguably one of the WORST bands that has ever existed, Insane Clown Posse arrived in a cloud of rancid foulness around 1992. Aided by human dumpster Kid Rock, these Detroit "juggalos" achieved their first commercial success with 1994's "The Ringmaster", somehow finding a willing audience for their offensive, stupid, Metal-infused Rap. I had a friend try to show me the ICP "movie" once. It was worse than "Troll 2". I had to get up and leave (which was ironic, because we were at my house at the time).
Bolstered by the success of Rage Against The Machine, the monumentally sucky "Metal" band Korn rose to prominence in the 90's, becoming the highest-profile band in the nefarious Nu-Metal movement. Releasing a shitty album every two years from '94 to '98, Korn in turn opened the door for even MORE Nu Metal douchewands, from Limp Bizkit to Crazytown, P.O.D. to Snot. Nu Metal was the Black Plague of the 90's, dominating the airwaves and causing legions of jocks to pierce their noses and buy oversized black pants with too many wallet chains. It seemed that Rap-Metal had bottomed out. But the worst was actually yet to come.
Left: Limp Bizkit's 2000 opus "Chocolate Starfish and The Hot Dog Flavored Water", a thinly veiled reference to both jizz and butthole, which tops my personal list of Worst Fucking Album Titles Ever.
- WELCOME TO THE WORST OF BOTH WORLDS: 2002-PRESENT
Below: Kid Rock, Rap-Metal offender of the highest degree since the early 90's, has decided to try his hand at "Southern Rock" in recent years (and by "try his hand", I mean "sample entire Lynyrd Skynyrd songs and sing new words over them"). In the video below, he relates being a U.S. Marine or firefighter to being a NASCAR driver. AMERICA!!!
With Nu-Metal thankfully dead, Rap-Metal began the task of finding new ways to infiltrate the world of legitimate Metal. Rappers like Necro (right) and Ill Bill (below), two brothers from New York, name-dropped Metal bands all over their first couple albums, but usually kept the Metal out of the mix musically (despite occasional collaborations with Metal bands stupid enough to walk that path). Although their music is awful, it's still harmless, more a tribute to Metal than any sort of threat to it.
Left: Ill Bill would like to know if you'd care for some pot.
At this point, I just have to give a quick shout out to Seargent D and the guys at Metal Inquisition for the guidance they've given me concerning what remains of this post (if you are a fan of crappy early 90's Death Metal and/or TMZ-style celebrity news coverage, you should really check this amazing blog out NOW). Everything from here on out I've learned on Metal Inquisition, so Sargeant, if you're reading this, you can pretty much stop now.
That being said, let's get to the GOOD STUFF.
"Wigger Slam", a peculiar offshoot of brutal Death Metal, is characterized by its slow, chugging riffs (the "mosh" parts of traditional Death Metal), a high, ringing snare, and supremely deep, gutteral vocals. All it really has in common with the Rap world is the style of dress of the band members ("Wiggers" tend to rock baggy camo pants, sideways baseball caps, and fresh sneakers), and the tendency of their singers to strut around stage, delivering their vocals with the accompaniment of choppy, Hip-Hop style arm movements.
Wigger Slam, oddly enough, is big in Japan, which is where many of the best bands are from, such as Gorevent (above). My current favorite Wigger Slam band is Cephalotripsy (left), San Diego's finest purveyors of brutal slammitude.
So where does that leave Rap-Metal? Well, 3 days ago, I would have answered "fuck if I know", but unfortunately, thanks to Metal Inquisition, now I do. My two least favorite kinds of music, Metalcore and Autotune Booty Rap, have somehow managed to mate and produce offspring, like the fucktastic Hollywood Undead (above). Characterized by shitty, high-pitched Metalcore screaming, Dirty South party beats and ultra-shitty autotuned choruses, "Screamo Crunk" is a bastard, mutant child of all the crappiest musical ideas EVER, a fascinating tribute to the "what will they think of next" spirit that's always been at the heart of Rap-Metal. Check out the Hollywood Undead video below to satisfy any lingering morbid curiosities, but be warned: it may induce vomiting, diahrrea, and/or Vegas-era Elvis style screen-shooting.
As the final chapter in this sad, sad saga, witness the fetid drivel of Screamo Crunk's finest act, Brokencyde (above). Although grating, insepid, and weak, it leads one to wonder: Where will Rap-Metal go next? Where can it POSSIBLY go next? Only time will tell, my friends. Only time will tell.
Just a reminder for enemies of Metal everywhere:
BRUJERIA JUDGES YOU ALL!!!
Posted by Shelby Cobras at 6:12 PM