Take a Bite Outta Rhyme
A Rock Tribute to Rap (Republic/Universal)
by Scott Hefflon
This was inevitable, wasn’t it? With buffoons like Limp Bizkit making money instead of taking beatings for being so goddamn ridiculous, convincing a whole generation of white kids that aping black culture is anything other than offensive to both, ya kinda knew that sooner or later some label mogul was gonna package up a cheap parody of “rock” and “rap” and sell it to people who don’t know it’s a joke. And while a few tunes here are funny in that Kid Rock way (ya know, charmingly quaint until ya realize how conscious and deliberate they are) – except Bloodhound Gang‘s “It’s Tricky” which they did before anyone thought it was cool – most of the material here is white “rappers” like Insane Clown Posse, Kottonmouth Kings, and Fun Lovin’ Criminals or nü metal crap like Staind (who cover “Bring the Noise” with Fred Durst, a song on the advance of their debut on Fred’s imprint that was pulled because it was so embarrassing, or so most of us thought), Sevendust (who do a great job with the “slow cruise” part of “Going Back to Cali” but screw up the rest of it), Dope, Driver, Mindless Self Indulgence (who I like in much the same way as System of a Down: they’re just so weird and spastic that I like them despite the fact that I wish they’d put their skills to better use), Factory 81, and Nonpoint.
Simply put, this is classic rap, the time period I suspect even today’s rappers realize they can’t match, covered by a whole buncha white kids who’ve been encouraged instead of chased and bitch-slapped for thinking they know shit about the ghetto. Liner notes by Chuck D. and a bonus of “Bamm!” by The Jerky Boys further confuses this seriously joking release, which, I hate to say, has some really good moments. I’ll credit my grudging approval to the strength of the original material, the sonic bombardment of the production, and the simple fact that, in truth, most nü metal bands do, in fact, sound good, they just already are cover artists who couldn’t write an original, ground-breaking song if their bloated record contracts depended on it. OK, I feel better now.