Every now and then it’s good to buy a rap album against your better judgment. Even if you suspect going in that it might be totally terrible, and you think that it might be overpriced as a $0.99 bargain bin dust collector, go ahead and pick that pooch. One of three things will happen:
1.) You’ll be so surprised it didn’t suck it will feel like money well spent.
2.) The album sucks so damn much it reminds you what REAL HIP-HOP is, just because it’s not.
3.) A confusing combination of both awe and disgust completely fucks your head up.
I think it’s safe to say Jamie Kennedy & Stu Stone’s “Blowin’ Up” is the third of those three. Prior experience with Kennedy before this album led me to believe he was a perpetual prankster, making a mockery of hip-hop in feature films like “Malibu’s Most Wanted” by being the most exaggerated stereotype possible of what everyone expected from the contestants on VH1’s “The White Rapper Show.” To think that Kennedy had any serious ambitions as a hip-hop musician was at best ludicrous and at worst insulting. In fact the title “Blowin’ Up” is a direct reference to Kennedy’s comedy/reality show on MTV, and the publicity for the album implies that the songs featured within are almost an accident of producing the show, ideas spurned from Kennedy’s obsessively creative mind that were fleshed out in musical form just to see where they’d go.
Kennedy may be a funny guy with an incredibly versatile range of vocal impersonations, and if one is not trying to find monsters in every closet even his parodies of hip-hop imply that he loves it enough to make fun of it, much like Weird Al chooses songs by artists he admires and gives them a humorous twist. That being said there’s little doubt that where some of these songs go is straight to HELL. Often it’s not Kennedy himself or his co-hort Stu Stone who are at fault, it’s a collection of beats that are poorly organized noise that ruin the experience. “Knuckle Up” is a perfect example, since Richard ‘Younglord’ Frierson could have done us all a favor by clcking “delete” on Pro Tools and never letting this see the light of day. Here’s a tip – stringing together a series of screeching sounds and adding 808 hits to it does not make you Swizz Beatz on his WORST day. Stu Stone doesn’t fare much better on “Car Rear,” which attempts to the simplicity of a pounding bassline but instead sounds like a car audio test that somebody added a vocal track and flanging to. Kennedy also tries much too hard to be funny on some tracks and goes beyond humor into a nightmare of epic proportions, such as a track titled “Bologna” which is a thinly veiled ode to homosexuality where Kennedy is the Closet Gay Rapper everyone’s been trying to out for the last 20 years.
On the other hand it’s sometimes the sheer stupidity and bravado that results in some of this album’s most unexpectedly pleasant surprises. “Rollin’ w/ Saget” seems like the worst idea of all time until you listen to it, when the D-Sisive and Stu Stone beat hit you hard and Kennedy’s flow on the track reminds you of DJ Quik for all the right reasons. His vocal impersonations here are dead on, so hearing the cardigan sweatered host of Full House insult 50 Cent and make braggadocious cracks like “I’ve got a cock like a donkey, hard as a rock/and a trigger finger itchier than chicken pox” is funnier than words can do justice. “Bob Saget bitch, you better axe someone!” Kardinal Offishall makes an unexpected guest appearance on “Rush the Club” and the track sounds 100% authenticate, with a couple of hip-hop heads looking to bumrush the door and get on the dancefloor. “Mattress Mack” featuring Paul Wall borders on making fun of the Dirty Dirty but since Wall himself is in on the joke and the beat is slow low and bangin’, it’s all to the good. Even E-40 shows up on the album to yell “Fuck Jamie Kennedy” but actually ends up paying tribute to him in the process.
To say that Jamie Kennedy & Stu Stone’s “Blowin’ Up” is a must own album is a lie. In fact it’s tragic in some ways that Kennedy does seem to love hip-hop this much because unlike previous television celebrities that have attempted a rap album Kennedy has some real potential on this album. It’s probably best that this is a one shot project and that he never attempts anything like it again; on the other hand if the comedy career ever falls through and he links up with some better producers he certainly wouldn’t be the WORST white rapper hip-hop has ever seen on the scene. “Blowin’ Up” won’t establish him in the underground OR the mainstream and is probably only meant for his hardcore fanbase, but occasionally it does manage to move beyond being just a joke into something that’s both funny and dope at the same time. This is one of those albums that proves it’s worth trying something different every now and then just for the fuck of it.