It all started with an Saturday Night Live sketch called “Lazy Sunday”, a hardcore 90′s style gangster rap featuring a then unknown Andy Samberg along with Chris Parnell, who passionately rhymed about going to see The Chronicles Of Narnia in the theater. The trend continued, as Samberg and his Lonely Island comedy crew penned and performed additional parodies, such as the infamous “Dick In A Box” (featuring Justin Timberlake) or “Natalie’s Rap”, where little Ms. Portman got hella gangsta with lines like “All the kids that look up to me can suck my dick!”. Three years and millions of viral video views later, the Lonely Island kids’ dream has become fully realized, with a full-length album on Universal Records, including all of the classics and some new tracks as well. As an added bonus, the set also includes a DVD with many of the videos.
While most of the album’s parodies lampoon hip-hop in it’s many forms, it’s not done in disrespect to the art form. Clearly these thirty-somethings were raised on classic hip-hop, as group’s like N.W.A. and The Geto Boys are obviously the influences behind “Lazy Sunday” or “Natalie’s Rap”, while songs like “I’m On A Boat” and “Santana DVX” actually tap guys like T-Pain, J-Zone, and E-40 to help out. However, they are also like most twenty-year hip-hop vets, and are jaded and disillusioned with the rapid decline in quality we’ve seen in the music over the last ten years. Songs like “Like A Boss” is an Office Space inspired thug rap that might make Rick Ross or Slim Thug angry, while “The Old Saloon” (produced by DJ Nu-Mark) hits the nail on the head of what is wrong with today’s interpretation of the word “mixtape”.
Hip-Hop is not the only target however. As previously seen on SNL, “Jizz In My Pants” clearly mocks 80′s synth pop groups like The Pet Shop Boys, or “Ras Trent”, a reggae song sung from the perspective of a Trustafundian rebel, actually produced by genre-leaders Sly & Robbie. The Jack Black featured “Sax Man” is also a hilarious rip on commercial jazz, as the Tenacious D frontman steps back into his element.
Their sense of humor is completely out of this world – obviously drug inspired – as strange concepts like “Punch You In The Jeans” and “Space Olympics” seem to go off on weird tangents, not to mention their nutty origin story, “Incredibad”. While some of these things might be totally off the deep end – not really having a direct punchline, but just being silly – there’s something to be said about Norah Jones singing about Chex Mix in complete seriousness. (“Dreamgirl”).
What really makes this package worth the purchase ($9.99 at Amazon) is the added DVD. Not only does it include the classic video shorts from SNL, but they are also uncensored, without the audience laughter. So no more low quality YouTube videos to suffer through, you can now pass the bong comfortably in your living room while rolling on the floor to the “Lazy Sunday” video in glorious 480p (it’s not quite Blu-Ray, but hey). There are some curious exclusions on the DVD however. “Natalie’s Rap” is not included for whatever reason, while a sample clearance issue killed the Adam Levine featured “Iran (So Far Away)”. The obviously too recent “I’m On A Boat” video is also missed, as is the Ludacris and T-Pain “Blizzard Man” sketch. Google it.
Good comedy is hard to come by these days, as is good hip-hop. Thankfully this album gets one of those things correct, making the other irrelevant. Incredibad is the perfect title for The Lonely Island’s debut – not bad meaning bad, but bad meaning, uh, incredible. – Pizzo
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