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Ringometrics 12/44: As wholesome as collecting smegma from the laundry of an STD ward

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By Ringo P

Problem is: I’m sick. Not in the glamorous hip-hop sense, in an ugly fucked-up, barely able to function sense. Obsessing over worthless trivia when I should shift my focus on to something with capital value. Not my abstract ‘values’, they’re all wonky, way to out of sync to translate. Can’t slow down, must consume, even after I’ve figured out all that sound I’m stuffing in my ears shouldn’t beguile. Getting hooked on streams and downloads is as wholesome as collecting smegma from the laundry of an STD ward. Building model ships from spent matches lying outside the corner store. Not to diss consumption. Gluttony is everyone’s patriotic duty, right? But there’s good music and there’s bad music, and the difference between them should be obvious. I need to consume the right stuff. Maybe if I consume enough of the right stuff then finally I’ll understand. Maybe I should buy myself a book or something?

Longusto – Call Centre
(via The 273)

Damn video got me having nasty flashbacks. I knew the song already, heard it on Longusto’s Too Big To Play, but on there it was just a joke. Bit of a laugh, like. Nothing to dwell on for too long, not the best track on the album but a decent pointer. This guy understands the motions of wage slavery. I was a bit wary of the faux-Jamaican-istics on that hook, but really that’s my problem, not his. The obscene waste of humanity that is the modern call centre may not be physically violent, but it’s ugly enough to admit allusions to the tribulations of the original sufferahs. I guess. But then watching the video, it all got too real. The sight of Longusto lying in bed with his headset on, bringing back those short nights after one 16 hour shift, right before another, dreaming of inane spiel and mumbling insincere apologies in my sleep. The office furniture. The bored colleagues, at least one of whom is the absolute spit of this one tosser I worked with for over three years around the end of the last century. It was a long time ago, I thought I’d gotten over it, but I was wrong. You never really get over that kind of experience. One to appreciate in moderation for its artistry rather than play over and over, methinks.

The Coup – The Guillotine

I love The Coup. They’re the type of group I’ll happily make excuses for when they’re weak (about half the new album, sadly), because when they’re on form they’re like no one else I’ve heard. Righteous but funny, optimistic, inspiring. Not a particularly difficult concept to grasp but damn near impossible to pull off, judging by how often people get it right. George Clinton could do it, obviously. Digital Underground not so much. And, really, someone ought to tell Immortal Technique it’s an option, but that’s getting away from the point which is: this new single from The Coup? I don’t have to make any excuses for it. Not their most chucklesome concept, but played out with a characteristic lightness. Catch the smile on Boots Riley’s face when he’s hooked up as Scarecrow Jesus right there at the start. Smug? Maybe a little, but I can’t even hold that against him. Not when he’s making revolution look so exciting! We don’t have to charge around the streets with petrol bombs, we can dress up in silly costumes and dance around to pre-historic heavy funk guitar! We’ve got the guillotine! That would be the… errr… cardboard guillotine, of course.

Wretch 32 – Pop

It’s hard to believe the gall of Wretch 32 making a record like this. After all the really crap pop tunes he’s done over the last few years, to hear him say “I ain’t a pop star, it just so happens my face is ever so popular” is hilarious. He’s the UK’s answer to Rick Ross, he’ll play any role shamelessly, and you know it’s bullshit but he’s charming enough to get away with it. Unorthodox, my arse. Still, I can’t help but be relieved to hear him on a minimal grime beat without all the naff pop embellishments. It helps that he’s got some great one liners. Conspicuous consumption, 21st Century English estate style: “My CSA went on diamonds” (oh, really?) The monumentally cheesy “she said I’m a hot male, she want to log in”; the poignant alcoholic boast, “fuckin’ up my liver, treat my body like a whorehouse”. Or, best of all, in the week that Wretch has been talking to the BBC about his money problems, a couple of pious materialist boasts: “Used to be a Christian, now I’m in Dior, wow!” and, best of all, “got a lot of money, I can afford all my problems”. You’ve got to love someone who can spit a line like that with such innocence and assurance.

King L – Val Venis

When I first got heavy into rap one of the big points of appeal is half the time I didn’t have the slightest clue what they were on about. I like a puzzle. King L’s got me feeling that way again, even when I’m fairly sure I know what he’s saying. Every word so damn slurred you have to doubt your ears. Besides, the way he shoots out “little do they know” as “lidddidddidddinohe” like some kind of Welsh baritone on downers is a good reminder that sometimes words get in the way. Then he starts repeating “I’m wildin’ violent, I’m violent wildin‘” in the last 20 seconds and the effect is almost psychedelic: I’m violin while-in? Could be. I’m theoretically open to the possibility this song may be about King L’s experiences in the school orchestra. Then I do the sensible thing and Wikipedia Val Venis. He’s a wrestler. That’s everything settled, all evidence otherwise be damned. I trust rappers, me. It’s about wrestling.

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