V.I.C.’s choice of Soulja Boy to produce the first single off his national debut is a bit mystifying. Critical response to SB’s production on his own debut album in 2007 ranged from a polite “awful” to this apt assessment from Entertainment Weekly: “A teenage wasteland filled with monotonously looped chants and agonizing blunt-force beats.” Normally working with a producer this infamous to debut yourself nationally would be career suicide, but since the single in question is called “Get Silly” it’s probably not hurting V.I.C. one bit – nobody should take this song too seriously.
“My chain too silly (okay) my wrists too silly (okay)
The girls throw me fish cause my rims Big Willie (okay)
My ride too silly (okay) I ride too silly (okay)
With four fantastic hoes cause I got a deal-ly
Cause now I’m worth a millie (okay) forget a rubberband
Cause you can’t put a rubberband around a bill-ion
I be wildin on a island somewhere just like Gilligan
Drillin hoes like a dentist then then then I fill her in
Ey back back back, I’m the man girlfriend
I’m the reason why you wanna lose your man girlfriend (HA HA!)
I’m calm like the sea (sea) I’m blowed like the wind (wind)
And now that I’m straight I’m ’bout to act a fool again”
Vapid, meaningless lyrical content seems like a perfect fit for Soulja Boy’s limited productions skills. “Get Silly” relies heavily on FL Studio sound effects and the lucky chance that randomly played notes somehow comprise a melody, while V.I.C. relies heavily on the idea simplistic rap somehow creates an interesting personality. Both are wrong. The good news is that Soulja Boy left well enough along on the rest of V.I.C.’s “Beast,” giving this brand new rapper a much better chance to succeed. Putting Mr. ColliPark in charge of V.I.C.’s second single “Wobble” was definitely a step in the right direction.
“I got ’em shakin they boobies like congos
Man I’m shakin the city like quakes
The haters blowin the face like Gonzo
Cause I’m bakin a cake so let’s bake
I’m taking the game, the game’s mine
Y’all witness the change, it’s my time
Y’all new to the game, but y’all might wanna
save ya whack raps, daylight saving time
I can dance homie, I don’t two-step
Y’all lookin at somethin like a true playa
A girl told me that a man that could dance
might could possibly get down with the tool in his pants”
A step. ONE step. Let’s take a step in another direction though with this review. It seemed very unlikely to this writer that V.I.C. would get a major record label deal and a heavily pushed single (however inane) in rotation everywhere without having SOME sort of history in the music industry. It turns out that reading the liner notes to “Beast” and doing a few minutes research on the internet are all that’s required to dig up that history. Some sources that did a few minutes less research might tell you his real name is Victor Ganz when in fact it’s Victor Owusu. Before he became a well-known pop rapper with admittedly silly lyrics, Victor branded himself aCHRISTIAN RAPPER. That’s right – V.I.C. actually stands for VICTORIOUS IN CHRIST. Mr. Owusu put several sample tracks up on Soundclick spitting over instrumentals to popular songs. The vocal tone and delivery have gotten a little deeper and slower, but clearly the then teenage V.I.C. has gotten a puberty-sized dose of testosterone, which also explains his much less God-fearing lyrics. It’s quite the transformation for the rapper who once vowed on “He’s the King” to be “up in God’s army” and offered this shout to the Lord: “You better hope you got lucky, cause three is a charm/With father son and the ghost, yeah I’m bringin the bomb.” It all seems a little tooSILLY to be true, but the facts are all there. His real name from the liner notes brings you to Soundclick, and both his Soundclick bio and his whacky wiki one agree he was born in New York and raised in Atlanta.
Let’s be perfectly clear about it – this writer is not knocking a young man who once defined himself as “[using] his god given talent to influence the minds of the youth in a positive way” for now being explicit enough to merit a parental advisory sticker on “Beast.” We all change as we grow older; after all Dr. Dre once proudly proclaimed “I don’t smoke weed or sess” on “Express Yourself” only to record an entire album called “The Chronic” a few years later. Dre has never tried to cover up this contradiction, and the Swole produced song “By Faith” suggests that V.I.C. is not entirely giving up the gospel – he’s just partaking of a little vice in his young life when he’s not at church on Sunday. Actually he’s partaking of a LOT of vice – the self-described “king of the jungle” does almost nothing else throughout the 19 tracks of “Beast.” On the Phunk Dawg produced “Bop, Bop, Bop” he lets his “nuts swang like the breeze in the trees” en route to stealing ladies from lames who don’t have as much swagger as Victor. “Flawless” with Avant is more of the same – brag about being wealthy and handsome, then make the women “turn like a door knob” when they see him. Mr. Hanky laces up several nice tracks for V.I.C., particularly “Blow My Mind,” where Victor talks about – you guessed it – getting women.
“Your boyfriend’s not a man, he’s a boyfriend
Someone takin up the place of a real man
I’m 24 and I can take you where you never been
And we ain’t gotta leave the state to see where I been”
All praises due to V.I.C. for getting his share of the punani pie while he’s still young, dumb and full of you-know-what. I hope that he’s not too silly to wear a jimmy hat and get a blood test e’ry now and then for he and his partner’s sake. Aside from that there’s not much to say about the modern day Victor Owusu other than he kept the moniker but put his loin ahead of the Lord 95% of the time. Young men and women tend to do that even if they have the noblest of intentions – biological imperative can be a bitch like that. Whether you agree or disagree with his change in lifestyle and lyrical content over the years, there’s not a whole lot you can say for theSUBSTANCE of his lyrics today. It’s not the topic matter that’s in question at all – it’s the rather underwhelming way that he delivers rhymes that are quite frankly boring in structure and format. You won’t find Victor winning awards for great punchlines, breath control, lyrical complexity or incredibly charismatic delivery. He’s got a solid album by hip-hop pop standards musically (particularly if you consider “Get Silly” an aberration or fluke) but by musical nutrition standards this is cotton candy fluff rap. It’s silly to even consider listening to “Beast” five years from now – I’ll be tired of it in under five weeks.