One thing that’s very obvious to me right away on “Mr. Wizard’s Woes” is that MC Breath is passionately angry about the state of mindless willful blindness that pervades American culture and politics. The very first full length song on the album is “Condoleezza Rice,” a self-produced song where Breath makes no apologies for chopping up her speeches to make her say “I caused September 11th” and berates Leeza Gibbons for not putting Rice under a microscope when they had a one-on-one interview on national television. He’s literally foaming at the mouth with fury over the fact Gibbons asked Rice about who she’s dating and where she shops for shoes, instead of asking her about American soldiers coming home with amputated limbs and the complete lack of evidence that Saddam Hussein ever had weapons of mass destruction in Iraq.
The next track “Donut Day” is no less scathing, attacking the American lifestyle of downing waistline expanding pastries while ignoring the real issues of the world. I’m somewhat distracted by the sample at the beginning though – it sounds exactly like Daniel Crocker from The Fairly OddParents yelling “Okay everybody! The donuts are ready!!” He definitely has no qualms about pulling any samples from pop culture he needs to put his songs together, so you won’t be surprised when famous donut eater Homer Simpson eventually winds up in the mix too. He also seems to be mimicking or parodying Dr. Seuss when he raps “You do not dig them so you say/Try them douchebag, donut day!!”
Breath doesn’t just drop vitriolic attacks on an undeserved smug American sense of superiority though – he also drops occasional clever lines like “My one claim to fame involves a pastry – I once split a bismarck with Biz Markie.” (For those not in the donut world, bismarcks are usually known as “jelly donuts.”) Anyway Breath is a rapper/producer who hails from Providence, Rhode Island. He shows off more of his production chops on “I Don’t Like Nobody,” which is made up entirely of samples such as Cameron from Ferris Bueller’s Day Off saying “Pardon my French, but you’re an asshole” and Penn Jillette screaming “Shut, the f#@%, UP!!”
This forces me to address a point that I had yet to make in the first few paragraphs. I want to give MC Breath the fairest chance I can, because he’s got well thought out lyrics and something important to say with them, but “I Don’t Like Nobody” ends up being one of my favorite tracks because he ISN’T rapping. I feel like I’d be doing MC Breath a disservice if I wasn’t completely honest about this – his flow feels very forced and awkward. It’s like he tried to stylistically borrow elements from mc chris, MC Lars and Devo Spice but somehow wound up a horribly mutated Brundlefly of an emcee. He tries to make up for this by keeping his intensity level turned up to 11 in every song, but instead of compensating for how painful listening to his flow is on songs like “Charles Grodin Is a Complete A%%hole.”
This is a very strange album for me, because I don’t have any issue with his completely anti-authoritarian stance, nor his desire to put famous celebrities and politicians to the rack and turn the crank. This kind of dialogue is very healthy and necessary for a Democracy to be effective – we need dissent in our discourse so we can arrive at proper conclusions about what’s best for us individually and as a society. However after listening to him scream into the microphone over and over again you’ll prefer his pop culture examinations to be limited to sample-laden instrumentals like the oddly charming “Toes” which borrows heavily from Sesame Street.
If I may offer one other piece of advice to MC Breath, it’s to not sing, even if it’s to parody the American pop culture he’s so happy to lambast. As for his vocal tone, it’s probably unavoidable even if he were to calm down his delivery, and it’s just not as charming as the more natural and enjoyabe mc chris. I dig the sentiments of songs like “There’s No Social Media in the Afterlife,” I just don’t dig the presentation. It’s clear MC Breath has skills as a writer and as a producer, but he should focus on those strengths and apply them to others. I’m willing to bet there’s an up-and-coming rapper in Providence with a better flow who could use his beats.