Call it romantic, but God has given MC MC Paul Barman a noble mission in life: To make the dumbest, smartest Hip-Hop ever created. Never mind that he’s white, Jewish, nerdy, a moonlighting cartoonist, and that his voice sounds like a black comedian’s impersonation of a white guy, his new album Paullelujah, is truly divine.
Paul Barman’s constant clowning is centered around seventh-grade subject matter, namely anything that comes into or out of the human body (or both, again and again). Biz Markie’s “Pickin Boogers” has got nothing on “Burping and Farting”, where he comprehends the various ramifications of “ingestin’ gas in the intestine” all over a sped-up tango beat. The song is giddily devoid of any semblance of maturity, but that’s what makes it fun: he refuses to front. While braggart rappers are bragging about all their hoes in different area codes, Barman is having self-consciously ridiculous fantasies about fucking an assortment of celebrities. On the lead single, “Cock Mobster”, he rhymes their names with how he’d like to take them (example: “Winona Ryder / goin’ inside her!”), over a cartoonish yet bumping beat.
While most rap is built on street smarts, MC Paul Barman uses a quirky brand of silly intellectualism. This fool makes references to algebra, Origami, and Nietzsche interspersed with boneheaded puns. His mischievous rhyme schemes round out his bizarre style very nicely, like when he claims that he “follows politics to ball all the chicks.” At one point, he gives the following shout outs: “Eve, Mika, RZA, Evil JD, / Nasir is Osiris and J-Live, AZ, / Rakim, Cormega, Cage, Mr. O.C.”. This may sound like an eclectic group of influences, nothing special, but it’s made up of palindromes. That’s right, spell it all backwards and it’s the same thing, and it still rhymes.
Even though his rhymes are genius, the Caucasoid (as he calls himself) does have an distinct lack of rhythm, even for a white guy. He gets so carried away in fitting all his ideas in that he doesn’t seem to care whether he falls on the beat at all. It sounds pretty awkward at first, but once the listener picks out all the punch lines it becomes rather amusing. His convoluted style actually works better on some songs than straightforward delivery would; like in “Anarchist Bookstore Pt. 1″ where he voices a stoned pornographer, a corporate hack, and an iron masked revolutionary, all with their own unique cadences.
Even though Barman’s new material is well worth the three-year wait since his debut, Paullelujah has a few defects which keep it from being a consistent piece. First of all, the production isn’t nearly as innovative as when he was with the legendary Prince Paul (although they reunite on “Bleeding Brain”). Also, there are two tracks, “Time Travelling” and “A Somewhat New Medium,” apparently trying to parody bad spoken word, complete with overdrawn pauses and corny background music. It’s cool to listen to once or twice, but it frankly could have been left out. That being said, this is the funniest album to come out since Chris Rock’s Bigger and Blacker (if that even counts), and is sophisticated enough to remain entertaining after repeated listening. Maybe Paul’s not going to be in the lyricist hall of fame, but he certainly deserves to sneak in and defiantly spraypaint “My dandy voice makes the most anti-choice granny’s panties moist” on the wall.
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