Thursday, September 16, 2010

Back of the class

Let's take it back to 93', knee deep into what many consider to be the 'Golden Era' of Hip-Hop. It was a time of backpacks, asymmetrical fades, and an embrace of delinquency. Of course, we have all of that today, but much of our contemporary Hip-Hop embraces the style while leaving the soul behind. Yeah, okay, so I'm still glad we have given up on the clunky and baggy fashion as evidenced in the movie, Juice, but given the other cultural influences we have to deal with, the underground is starting to look like an awful nu-rave/skintight thug hybrid. It has swept through hipsterdom like crabs on Steve Aoki. It's the reason why raunch has become the new standard of lyrical proficiency (looking at you, Amanda Blank) and why I mistakenly bought Spank Rock a gram of coke when I thought I was paying for a ticket to see him perform. Style used to be about the swagger coming out of the mouth rather than the garish, collabo-footwear. When I think about the increasing disparity between youthful Hip-Hop and lyrical integrity, I listen to The Wascals and lament.

The Wascals were a group of young hooligans signed to J-Swift's, Fat House Recordings, a sub-label of Delicious Vinyl. Together, Bucwheed, Spit-Anky, Alphie and St. Imey, formed a boisterous crew with freshly pubescent voices that fell perfectly in place with J-Swift's raw, Jazz-sampling, beats. Often referred to as 'the baby Pharcyde' because of the number of members and their similar vocal delivery, The Wascals material ranged from the common booty anthem ("The Dips") to the under-explored perspective from the classroom ("Class Clown"). With this 'Golden Era' came a comfort in addressing new topics and experimenting with narrative, yet no one dared to tackle the monotony of the rebel trapped in History class since Pookey Blow's "Get Up (And Go To School)". Though young Pookey made a valid point, the lyrics are simplistic compared to the tense, irritation of St. Imey's verse on "Class Clown". You can really feel the burn of contempt in lines like, 

"I'm really, really sorry, Mr. Harrari, your lectures bore me/
  I interupt you when I tell a story/
  I Raise my hand, to make you stand up, and you ignore me"

Unfortunately, The Wascals never rose to prominence as their producer, J-Swift, drifted away from music and into the unforgiving hands of crack cocaine. Amid label troubles and J-Swift's growing dependence on crack, their album, Greatest Hits, did not see the light of day until 2007 when Delicious Vinyl decided to release it about 15 years after its completion. Rapper, Bucwheed went solo to minor success, but the juvenile ingenuity that was The Wascals was lost to time and fortune forever.

Peep the video for "Class Clown"

1 comment:

  1. awww andrew you have a blog! that's so cute, and like, totally current. jk i love the song and you were destined to be snarky on the internet.