spaz â€“noun Slang.
1. a grotesquely awkward person.
2. an eccentric person.
About once every few months, a new rap release comes across my ear that seems to set a new benchmark, becoming the living embodiment of Hip Hop’s death. Just when I thought 2006 was the year of the soulless, morally vacuous and unmusical rapper, along comes Spazz from the Bronx (ironists take note: where it all started!) to single-handedly make a strong case for 2007. Instead of spending (wasting?) 50+ minutes of your life listening to â€œLet’s Get it Sparkin,â€ I’ll lay the message and the content out for you here: fuck you, pay me; bitches ain’t shit (but betta have my money); get rich or die tryin; money over everything; (fill in depressing rap clichÃ© here); etc.
Here are some sample choruses, which accurately sum up the song’s content, as well as the overall feel of the 21 track album:
â€œYou got a brick/ make sure to flip that
You got a chick/ make sure you hit that
Ain’t nothing else to do but make this money
You don’t have that/ make sure you get thatâ€
â€œThat’s all/ that’s all/ you need to hear
For you to know that I’m nice
The shit that I write
Yea, you know that it’s tightâ€
How about this:
â€œWe a fuck up a nigga
We a cut up a nigga
Put a slug in a nigga
Don’t give a fuck about niggasâ€
This is music so hateful, venomous and inane that it defies all understanding. What most of these new cats misunderstand about the gangsta persona is that it’s his flashes of humanity that ultimately make him compelling; hell, even Scarface had a weakness for women and children. By being completely heartless, Spazz quickly becomes a caricature.
The beats display all the typical appeals and flaws of recent NY Hip Hop. Many sound too busy (not good busy like Bomb Squad, just noisy and overbearing). There are lots of mid-tempo drums, interesting melodies unfortunately looped into the ground, alternately unassuming or obtrusive basslines, and an overall lack of distinctiveness. The best moments are the ones in which the sonics mimic the energy of current southern cuts, but realizing this is almost more depressing to those who want to see the east coast regain an innovative voice.
Lyrically, Spazz throws out a mediocre flow and tons of (un)clever similes, rarely going past the level of simple observations. So which is worse, the way we talks about his money, drugs and women, or the awful subject matter itself? I’ll leave that debate for someone who cares. Occasionally Spazz displays a refreshing hunger in his voice, but that’s really all I can extol.
So if this music is anything but a temporary fantasy for the listener, and a crass attempt to get a quick buck for the â€œartist,â€ then we as a Hip Hop community are in real trouble. Spazz never once mentions Hip Hop or even rap on the entire disc (you think he grew up breaking or bombing?!?). Mr. Jones already gave his thesis on how this is exactly what dug the grave, so I’ll direct you towards him for an explanation. But besides being merely a morally corrupt and intellectually insulting cultural product, the real tragedy is what this type of record symbolizes: the ugly and complicated socioeconomic, political and cultural history of America that ultimately spawns this particular type of beast. From slavery to the ultimate failure of the Civil Rights Movement to today’s current maelstrom of bullshit, what we get is someone like Spazz, who as his name suggests is definitely grotesque and with any luck eccentric, as in rare; moreover, I still can’t decide if he wholly buys into this mind state or if it’s just a persona. Terrifyingly, I’m leaning towards the latter. I’m not even going to attempt to start a debate about the precise causes of all â€œLet’s Get it Sparkinâ€ represents, but since it’s Black history month, I invite ya’ll to try.