Album Review: BlahzÃ© Misfits – “Colonel Custard’s Lonely Dick Pic Band”
New York-based rap duo Blahze Misfits (rappers Ly Moula and Georgie Jessel) followed their debut album with a sophomore release, titled Colonel Custard’s Lonely Dick Pic Band, on August 26th. Based on the way things have been going since its release, you either reacted one of three ways: 1) Chuckled at it and was intrigued to listen, 2) Raised your brows, and lost interest before giving it a listen, or 3) Were completely offended by it. Whether it was the title and/or the album art, one of those three things occurred just now. Which was it?
Before I even go in talking about the album itself, let me address some things first. While I understand that people are allowed to feel/react however they want in response to controversial subject matter, I think the response that Ly Moula (aka Lyle Horowitz), 1/2 of Blahze Misfits, has received from fellow bloggers/DJs/etc. are pretty wack and unnecessary.
For example, the first negative response that he received was from an A&R rep/DJ (see here, here, and here), who wrote an uncalled-for reply to the initial, harmless submission that Ly sent. Along with demanding to be removed from Ly’s email submission list, dude went off by calling Ly a dickhead, sarcastically put “art” in quotations (to imply that what he does has no artistic value), attempted to insult his intelligence, saying he’d never make it in the music business, and etc… all because the phrase “dick pic” was in the title. Whoa! Was all of that really necessary? Couldn’t he have asked to be removed, and leave it at that? I wonder if he even listened to a single song on the album, or if he made an ill-informed snap judgement based on the title and/or album art alone (assuming it was all flying dicks and unicorn sex in the lyrics)? If it’s the latter, which it likely was, that’s just plain ignorant.
numerous songs titled w/ some variation of “pop that pussy” but as soon as i have the word “dick” in my album title it’s quiet. interesting.
â€” Shampoo Papi (@mybrainisalive) August 28, 2014
Ly also said, via his Twitter, that a lot of rap blogs/websites are refusing to post their album, because of the title and/or album art alone. Is the word “dick” really that offensive? IN RAP?! Is the album art, which depicts a half-naked “Colonel Custard” with a parental advisory censor image over his junk, so shocking that it just crosses the line? Is that too much to handle? Is that breaking the rules, so much so that people don’t even want to give the album a shot? Shit, if you gotta, go ahead and censor the word (d*ck works just fine, no?). Censorship is a bitch, but whatever.
What I’m largely upset about is that people are looking at this from face value (outrageously judging a book by its cover), and not making their judgements based on the music itself. I’m upset that, according to Ly, several people who run rap blogs have told him that they liked the album, that it’s “hot”, but that they refuse to post it on their site. WHY?! Are they hesitant in posting it because they’re afraid with what their readers will think? Will it lose them followers? Will it start up a conversation that they don’t want to have? I’m upset because people are up-in-arms about something so small, and so irrelevant, to what the album is about–the music.
There’s a huge double standard when you think about the songs, music videos, and albums with naked girls, “pussy” and words of that nature in titles, misogynistic lyrics, racial slurs thrown about like nothing, and so on… those are willingly being shared by rap blogs and music consumers. As we all know, in hip hop, it’s a bit more socially acceptable when it involves women, because it’s a male-dominated industry–both in rap and the music blog worlds. But when it’s on the flip side, with the word “dick” in the title, there’s just a universal ban on it. Hm?
Except, wait, perhaps it’s a little more acceptable when it comes from an artist who’s heavily known in the rap world, who may be known for being provocative? For example, Tyler, The Creator‘s blatantly ignorant song/video “Bitch Suck Dick” was seemingly OK, and was posted and praised by several blogs a few years ago–laughing it off, and calling it brilliant satire. Dick was in the title, and dicks were all in the video. Whether it was a goof on commercial rap or not, it was OK. Or, Iggy Azalea‘s song “Pussy,” that was OK to share, too, huh? There are several other examples, but those came to mind first.
It’s all right to NOT LIKE something. It’s all right to LIKE something and NOT share it with others. However, it’s another thing to LIKE it behind closed doors and choose NOT to share it (on your music-centered blog where you share music that you like), out of fear of stepping on toes or facing controversial discussion (or whatever it is). I don’t follow that. It’s also another thing to NOT LIKE something, and then go off on a rampage to verbally bash the person (on things that have nothing to do with the music) for expressing themselves through their chosen art. That’s unacceptable. It’s also frustrating that so-called rap connoisseurs are writing off the album all together, before listening to it, because of a “shocking” and provocative title or picture.
I don’t know. I’m just surprised. Maybe if the Blahze Misfits had hundreds of thousands, or millions, of fans, they would be getting the positive attention and props that they deserve. Sure, their album is sexually explicit on the outside, but on the inside it’s full of creative songs and intelligent, introspective, comedic lyricism… that’s not all about dicks. If you don’t understand, or can’t get beyond, the title and/album art’s obvious comedic relief towards modern society’s obsession with sharing their “goods” with others, or their punk rock, against-the-grain attitude towards social norms… then maybe this really isn’t for you.
i’m not going to stop talking about this or why they let the word “pussy” fly at the rate they do but there’s a ban on “dick”.
â€” Shampoo Papi (@mybrainisalive) August 29, 2014
if people just flat out didn’t like the music i wouldn’t be upset but writing it off because of the album cover or title is ignorant
â€” Shampoo Papi (@mybrainisalive) August 29, 2014
i never expected to encounter so much anger and negativity not even related to the music itself. this all feels kind of ridiculous.
â€” Shampoo Papi (@mybrainisalive) August 29, 2014
If you made it this far, or if you went ahead and listened to Colonel Custard’s Lonely Dick Pic Band, then I applaud you.
On to the music in question!
“Welcome all you freaks, queers, criminals and gypsy mimes,” spits Georgie, as he introduces this album in the intro song. Having been a fan of their first album, As Fate Would Have It, I was looking forward to hearing another album from the two. About the album, it’s “A darkly comedic record from two rappers w/ an obsession with the occult, vaudeville and personality disorders.”
One minute into the album, with the intro song, I knew I was going to love it. Let me talk about my favorite songs, starting off with “Introducing Colonel Custard“. It’s fucking fantastic. It’s cool and eerie, with galloping percussion, a warped bassline, and ghostly hums. The beat alone draws me in with its mysterious allure. I’m also really drawn to their flows, because they’re funky and creative when they switch from regular to fast-paced, to keep up with the morphing tempo of the beat. The lyrics are reflective, honest, and humorous about who they are and the world that they’ve created throughout this album. Georgie starts the introduction with a mellow flow as he welcomes his fellow misfits: “Shifty minds // Friends in crime // We’re gathered here to introduce a world that we’ve designed // A place to play, our own amusement park and circus show.” His relaxed flow builds with energy, as does the beat, and he further elaborates on his imperfect life, in a world that he wants to escape. “We’re all trapped in this hell-hole forever // So, while we’re here, might as well enjoy the weather // The blood on the walls match my sweater // Honestly, it ties the whole room together,” says Ly in the second verse. He comes in with semi-frustrated bars that are soaked with political and economical conversation, where he mentions FEMA’s lack of action during Hurricane Katrina, greed and cash ruling everything around us, and the dreams one can’t reach with our minimum wage.
Over a beat by Co.fee, “Bones / Snake Boogie” takes you to a place that’s full of imagination and magic. I feel like this could be that audible representation of a dark vaudeville, which was mentioned early on. It’s richly layered and has quite a few unexpected, and interesting turns. Largely textured with a variety of quirky drum slaps, toy-like percussion, snappy hi-hats, and funky synth lines, this was an excellent beat for Ly and Georgie to get on. They approach the beat by trading verses, back and forth, giving you some perspective into their darker sides. It starts out with Ly, who’s “tired of being humble, you’re about to meet the monster,” and asks if it’d be considered extortion if he “threatened every blog site owner for promotion“. That last line seems so funny now, considering the extra cold shoulders they’ve been seeing with this album. He follows that with a confession about being emotional, matter of fact he’s the poster child, which comes with an up-and-down life. Georgie Jessel comes next, a little on the dark side, threatening to stop the presses and kill the bloggers, and admitting that he is “just another rapper who’s got issues with his father // And an appetite for medication, someone call the doctors!” They continue to each bounce around, spitting a handful of bars at a time, while coolly displaying their flows over such a unique beat. Other than containing some political and pop culture references, their lyrics are mostly zany and self-deprecating. While they take you to a place that is “so, so, eerie, wonderful, and strange,” the song is also so, so fun.
“Trill Vaudeville” is that hard-hitting, brass banger you’ve been waiting for! The production, by ELOQ, builds in anticipation with high-pitched string plucks and chipmunk vocals, right before a short-lived fist pump of bright horns blow behind some notable vocal samples. It really hits beast mode at 00:28 seconds, when deep, powerful horns take full control, with chest-pounding kicks, and aggressive snares all in the forefront, too. SO HEAVY! Ly busts in simultaneously with: “Aye whoadie, what’s a mob to a misfit // New slang, Blahze linguistics // Two pieces and a biscuit // Lemme ask, what’s a cracker to a Triscit? // I’m a rapper if you missed it // Shit, I was just born artistic // And shout out to Roslyn school district // For telling my parents that I was autistic.” Boom! Georgie comes with energetic and cocky bars about the exchange of dick pics for tit pics, being ’bout it ’bout it, and his love for the ladies and KFC. “What’s a scrub to a misfit?” Guest appearance comes from Pepperboy, but he seems to be just a bridge between where Georgie ends and Ly starts up again on the third verse. It’s so massive in sound, and their lyricism is witty and grimy rolled into one. This is trill vaudeville, and I want in.
“L’Homie” finds production by Tarzan, who I would only assume has created this, because it sounds as if it was made directly in the jungle. A barrage of monkey sounds, bird chirps, crickets, and other bug noises create an outdoor, in-the-wild atmosphere, while a set of bongos set an eccentric rhythm, along with soft woodwinds, tribal calls, and Tarzan yells. No empty space went uncovered. It’s a very interesting and busy beat that would stand well on its own, and if I had heard this by itself, I probably couldn’t imagine how someone could spit over this. I feel that bravery shows off their versatility, though. Behind silly bars about foreign women, Georgie pays respect to the loss of a homie as he copes with death in the first verse. “Sorry, lost track, but my homie just moved on // Passed on, sad song // I still get my dance on.” Before Ly steps into the second verse, where he slangs poetry about rap, cigarettes, and being confused for a demon, they humorously announce themselves as two pricks from the 516… two douche bags from Long Island, just pricking, and douching, and lying around. Hahaha, pretty much. Guest feature from ComPL3xX, who takes on the final verse.. with some equally comical and clever bars.
Originally produced by Son Lux, Blahze Misfits’ “Eazy” follows the same lonely path of suffering heartbreak. Except, when I first listened to it, I thought it was a dark look into the mind of a psychotic serial killer. I feel like the killer mannerisms reflect the depression and negative effects that heartache can have on a person, though. No time is wasted, because Ly’s creepy verse begins immediately: “How to make a monster // Got to find a body // First I cut your throat, then I tell you that I’m sorry // Living on a limit got me living in the lobby // Diggin’ through the garbage for some chicken teriyaki // Start with re-attaching all the ligaments that you severed // And easy with the heart, you’re applying too much pressure // Remember that the flesh is tough, but not as tough as leather // So easy on the flesh, when you’re sewing it together.” Whew! His delivery has a chill tone, and comes off apathetic, which smartly suits the nature of the subject matter–both from a killer standpoint, and as feeling empty and lost without love. Georgie’s following verse is less horrific, but also finds him troubled by his own past of being alone. “It’s no wonder that my best friend’s a drifter // A trickster, a gypsy, a profit // A cosmic psychotic // A woman with the intuition of a Greek goddess // Ignored the pleas once, now I’m haunted by the scars // So alone, I love you so // I must release you to the stars // I better take it easy.” So good.
If you were wondering why they go by the name Blahze, you can find that answer in “Funeral For A Dick Pic“. I’m not sure if people will enjoy this song, because they are brutally honest in how they feel about rap music, as well as their own position in it. But we’ll see. Their delivery is very subdued, also. It starts with Ly Moula, who beams with this dreary, “yeah, whatever” vibe, regarding the fact that he raps, and how he feels like it’s a useless skill. When I first heard this song, I did a double-take listen after these few bars from Ly: “I disagree // You fuck with me // Enough to maybe share my music publicly // I sent it to my friends and they didn’t care // I sent it to my grandma, said I didn’t swear // Well, on like three songs, but whatever // Lately I’ve been struggling with keeping it together.” WHOA, RIGHT?! Talk about an accidental prediction with what’s been happening with the blogs and people who refuse to share this album, because of the title and album art (You fuck with them enough to share their music?). Maaaan. Georgie’s heightened nonchalant verses lie within him speaking on his indifference with the rap scene and dropping from the Gold Coast team. “Despite the props and the praise, I can’t help feeling we got slapped in the face // At the same time, I only slay rhymes // ‘Cause 9-5 only feels like slave time // My heart’s not in music // But I’m lazy, so I might as well do it // And I don’t even listen to rap // The music’s boring and the lyrics are wack // These rappers swear they’re the shit // But, to me, rap is just another bit // Have a blessed day, now you know why we go by the name Blahze.” I enjoyed it for what it was, whether serious or sarcastic. Beat by Samiyam.
So where do you stand with this album? Does the title scare you away? If you like it, will you be too afraid to share it with your friends? Whatever the case, I hope you went beyond your initial thoughts and hit play on the music. I liked it, and you might, too. Stream Colonel Custard’s Lonely Dick Pic Band in full below, and download for free!