Rich Bums :: Defenders of the Crown :: Heart On Records
as reviewed by Nin Chan

What we have here is a record of incredibly bizarre boom-bap from a rather oddly-dressed Danish duo, one which references a diverse array of American rap traditions and ultimately proves to be quite the confounding, discombobulating listen. I would be lying if I said I didn't approach this release with extreme trepidation, considering the sleeve features these oddball Danes clothed in caveman garb and assuming a range of rather comical poses with clubs and fur pelts. You could only imagine my surprise upon playing this record, a staunchly American sounding product that displays an acute sensitivity for everything from East Coast revisionist boom-bap to West Coast People Under The Stairs flavored funk to Down South crunk, mimicking each with reasonable finesse while ultimately failing to do justice to any of the said genres.

Much like Rich Bums' choice of attire, this record feels outdated and primitive, littered with amateurish takes on a host of well-trodden, well-flogged American traditions. "It's All About Fred" is a rather gormless take on the jazzy, breezy sounds popularized by the likes of The Soundproviders and The Nextmen, replete with a wailing, sped-up vocal sample, insistent bass and keys, "Take Us Off The Charts" sounds like it could be a Imam Thug or Capone N Noreaga b-side, "Club Corny" is a haphazard stroll through southern bounce, adorned with a mystifyingly off-key hook that will unhinge even the most patient listeners. Elsewhere, "Hear So Much" sounds like it sampled some obscure Charles Bronson movie for its synth pattern and gloriously schlocky drum sound, merging an unabashedly '80s feel with percolating crunk percussion. What the fuck is going on?!

So here's the fundamental flaw of the record- why on earth does it sound so American? Is this what one should expect from a duo of starry-eyed, blond-locked Danes, whose pristine brick pavements and frothy, world-renowned ice cream is a far cry from the graven streets and hot dogs of Stateside shores. Are we to believe that all Danes are as fluent in ebonics as FredNukes, or as convincingly Nooyorican in accent? While the concept of Scandinavian Rap is certainly exotic and tantalizing, the unadventurous American replication of this record proves to be a frustratingly underwhelming killjoy. This could have been much better.

Music Vibes: 6 of 10 Lyric Vibes: 5 of 10 TOTAL Vibes: 5.5 of 10

Originally posted: May 10, 2005