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30 January, 2008@6:29 am

Usually when celebrities try to take on projects that are outside of their craft, it’s viewed as a “vanity project.” It’s more or less the star saying to the audience, “Yes, I am so infinitely talented as an (actor/athlete/singer/rapper) that I can also (sing/rap/act/play sports)!” In the case of rapping, the results are usually disastrous. Street credibility is half of it, and let’s face it, nobody really wants to hear what Roy Jones Jr. or Brian Austen Green have to say in their raps, no matter who produced it. But what happens when a d-list celebrity decides to have a career change, defaulting to the microphone? Could it be any worse than the K.O.B.E. album?

In the case of Dirt Nasty, it’s a fluke. Simon Rex has a long list of strikes on his ghetto pass, as his resume includes things like MTV veejay, model, comedian, and “not-a-rapper-but-I-played-one-in-Scary-Movie”; all of which point to “stay far away” from his self-titled hip-hop record. However Dirt Nasty has got one thing going for him that most other rappers seem to forget – originality.

He presents himself as a washed-up celebrity that never got his due, and as a result, makes for some very interesting commentary and background for the record. He introduces himself on “Droppin’ Names” – a sort of “Hi, My Name Is…” type of song that takes pot shots at various Hollywood stars. Not so much a lyrical superstar as Eminem, Dirt Nasty’s talent lies in his hilarity, which comes through on this song, with lines like “I’m horny for beaver…. / so give me a call, Sigourney Weaver,” and other quips. His breakthrough hit is much more original however, with “1980”, a glorious nod to the hot pink and turquoise, coke-stained eighties, which finds the kid from Oakland spitting humorous, bouncy rhymes about the greatest decade ever, over a beat reminiscent of Dead Prez’s “Hip-Hop” (although surely a different message.) The rhymes are strung together, sometimes forced and poorly delivered, but that’s definitely a part of it’s charm.

His sense of humor is self-depreciating, as he rhymes about things like being addicted to coke (“Can’t Get Down”) and his abnormally small penis (“Baby Dick” – but later refuted on “My Dick” with Mickey Avalon & Andre Legacy) – both elementary joke topics, but he takes it a step further, embarking on some uncharted territories. “Animal Lover”, for instance, will have the PETA people in shit-fit, as he explains his unadulterated love for the creatures of mother nature. Without spoiling it, it involves getting married to a cow and what it feels like to do it with a snake. “Mountain Man” is another off the wall track, where Dirt raps with a southern accent (white guy southern, not black guy southern) about the joys of inbreeding and living on a farm. These things must be heard to be believed.

We do get to see a bit of the “real” Dirt Nasty later in the album, such as on “Too Short Homage”, which is just that, and “True Hollywood Story”, where he doesn’t really poke fun at the fact that his acting career never took off. While this isn’t going to change the face of hip-hop, nor will he one day be crowned as one of the best to ever hold a mic, Dirt Nasty is definitely one of the most original and interesting rappers to come along in a while. The album’s production sounds low budget – as he prefers boom bap to flossy keyboard synth – but stick a major label recording contract in his hand and give him some expensive beats, and the mainstream would eat this right up.  – D.T. Swinga

  Mixtape D.L.
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