Bizarre :: Blue Cheese & Coney Island :: Koch Records
as reviewed by Steve 'Flash' Juon

Blue cheese is definitely not for everyone. If you live in a world of Wonderbread sandwiches made with bologna and pre-shredded bags of Kraft, then dull and plain is clearly your style. There's nothing dull and plain about the bright blue veins that run through a good blue cheese. That's MOLD son. Fuck what you've heard, mold isn't going to kill you, I don't care what you think it looks like. In fact in many cases like penicillin it's actually GOOD for you. I know, I know, there's the smell. Well blue cheese is very strong, there's no doubt about it, but a good protective wrap not only keeps in the smell but keeps the cheese fresh longer. The taste may actually be the hardest part for most people - it's very sharp and in a good blue can even seem to give you a little "mouth burn." Don't fight the feeling - embrace it. Bold sharp flavors let you know you're ALIVE. You can have boredom in a block of pre-packaged pasteurized homogenous cow piss cheese, or you can get down with the blue and live on the wild side.

Nobody's ever had to ask Rufus Johnson b.k.a. Bizarre to not be so dull and boring. If ever there was a rap artist who embodied the spirit of blue cheese musically, he would be the man. He definitely looks different from any other rapper in the industry. Bizarre not only puts the plus in plus sizes but he has a tendency to wear more amazing technicolor dreamcoats than Joseph not to mention shower caps in public. His raps may at times seem menacing and dangerous, but they are so far over the top they go beyond malicious to comedic. At any given time in a Bizarre rap he can switch gears from popping pills to fornicating with animals to running butt naked down the streets of Detroit. It's either a critique or a compliment, but Bizarre may be best described as Motown's answer to Kool Keith, minus the self-produced beats. There's no doubt either way that Bizarre is very sharp and very loud. You can't help but notice him but it's no coincidence you can't help but love him too. Some rappers have personalities that are just larger than life - Flavor Flav, Ol' Dirty Bastard, Kanye West, and all the rest who have come, gone or are still here - you have to put Bizarre on that list.

Few artists have lived up to their nom de plume as well as Johnson does, and on "Blue Cheese & Coney Island" he's living up to his reputation AND his album's name. For Bizarre the title is just a down home reference to Detroit, the city he can stay away from. As a writer I can flip that script too, because if there's one thing I miss about Eastern Michigan it's getting a malt at Steak 'n Shake with a side of shoestring fries and some blue cheese to dip them in. Now I never tried putting blue cheese on a coney island hot dog, but to me the idea sounds appealing because they are two great tastes I already love seperately anyway. That's Bizarre's music personified - he's got the breath control and lyrical flow to be hailed as a genius but he twists that genius and goes for some straight up demented shit. That's an appealing flavor - it's very strong but it's very unique. Take the lead single "Fat Boy":

"I'm an American Idol, lookin for Paula
Get on the dancefloor, so I'm a baller
Stepppppp, Dancing With the Stars
Cause ain't nobody, better than Bizarre
I got no reason to tell Devyne Stevens
Moonwalkin, bobbin and weavin
I'm that guy that the girls like
Cute babyface, I get more pie
I used to be dancin for Hammer in the 80's
He fired me, cause I got all the ladies
Back against the wall an', ain't no stallin
Don't you know Bizarre is BALLIN!!!
Everywhere I go, I get attention
Yellow biker shorts, surroundin tension
Dancin all sexy and the girls love it
Come over here, and rub on my stomach!"

Do yourself a favor if you've never seen Bizarre (and you'd have to be living under a moon-sized rock to have not) and watch the Fat Boy video on YouTube right now. Bizarre walks the line so often you can't really tell if he's joking or dead serious, but I'll go ahead and say right now he's got better dance moves as a big fat dude than I do. Actually Bizarre is one of the big stars of Celebrity Fit Club, losing 31 pounds and nearly 10% of his total body weight. Bizarre may still consider himself fat, but in four or five years he may have to come back and do a sequel called "Skinny Boy." Hopefully he'll still have J. Bass producing the beat and King Gordy cameoing on the track. There's plenty of good production to go around though - the gothic "Rock Out" from Nick Speed (which Bizarre threatens to do with his cock out), the incredibly suave pianos of "So Hard" with vocals from Monica Blair and beats by Silent Riot, and the down home twang of the Rencen laced "Got This Addiction" where Bizarre croons his blues away.

"I got this problem, I can't get away from you
I keep fallin, in and out of love with you
My mind, is trapped, inside of a maze
I'm gladly would die for just one more taste
It's not you - it's me

Typical Bizarre - just when you think he might be having a sensitive moment he shifts gears to get loud, over-the-top and crass. Some critics would be tempted to brand Bizarre as immature, juvenile, and self-centered as a result. He's certainly been called a "shock artist" and compared to people like Howard Stern before, but Bizarre is big enough (no pun) to handle it. If you're reading between the lines Rufus Johnson knows what his gimmick is and how to play it for all that it's worth. If he wasn't rapping about a "Sex Tape" one minute and "Start(ing) a Mosh Pit" the next, you wouldn't know who the fuck you were listening to. If there are two fair complaints about this album it's that the flavor of blue cheese is too strong for most people and there really needed to be more D12 appearances on the CD (Eminem is not present at all and Kuniva only shows up once). Otherwise Bizarre has once again succeeded with "Blue Cheese & Coney Island" and created an album that his fans will love while everybody else will just be left scratching their heads.

Music Vibes: 7 of 10 Lyric Vibes: 7.5 of 10 TOTAL Vibes: 7.5 of 10

Originally posted: October 30, 2007