It's not like Trick Trick's artistic output requires a great variety of words - in fact, I'd suggest two, lest I write too much, or the digits cruelly outpace the sum of his dimensions. Still, Trick Trick is misleadingly fascinating, as "The Villain" is just too damn peculiar to obey my first impulse as a faux-arthritic hand quails over the trash. But: Jesus, cognac, cigars, pistols, and sub-machine guns resting in the liner notes... what does any of this have to do with Art? Nothing, but since Trick Trick so candidly diverts attention from what counts, I'll dwell, or seem to dwell, on other matters, as a favor.
In his "Villain Intro," Trick Trick thoughtfully poses a series of dichotomies that, if nothing else, at least show the man's been thinking. As a corrective to the philosophical notion of "certainty," he quite intentionally withholds genuine answers, preferring, instead, to doubt it all, positioning himself squarely in the post-modern camp of Ďartists':
"What is the sun without darkness?
What is the moon without nightfall?
What is a hero without a villain?"
In fact, isn't this kind of literary, too? No, don't laugh, but think about it for a minute. A while back, I read a review that judiciously identified Vakill with "Greek chorus" - a high honor, I bet. But, it's one thing for a rapper to be the reincarnation of Aeschylus. It's a whole 'nother ballgame to be Homer:
"Either way, he's gay
Ain't no other way to say
He's a fuckin' faggot so I'm lettin' off my AK"
And just as Homer invokes crashing waves in his poetry's rhythm, so does Trick Trick "image" growing bonfire flames through a dramatically accelerating organ. S'mores? I think not:
"Then we spark another flame, pile up all the dyke bitches
Rosie O'Donnell, Ellen DeGeneres - they like bitches
SCUD missile through their fuckin' cruise ship
And you wonder who's this, it's Trick"
"Can't F Wit My City" is so far the best highlight, as the last 7 seconds have an unexpectedly prominent funeral vocal. Then it stops.
Musically, every song melts into the next. Or, into the former - Trick Trick can't be bothered with these quibbles, so don't ask. Some inastute persons call it lazy. I call it seamless - a unified vision, a crafted whole. It's impressive that, despite the diverse subject matter - violence, love, the role of homosexuality in American society, and celebrities' exploitation of gays' struggles through cruises for gay families and other self-congratulatory charity - discussing one track is precisely like discussing any other, musically or otherwise.
In "2Getha 4 Eva!!!" Trick crafts an excellent tribute to Run-D.M.C. (or so he calls it). One rather talented rapper named Esham dubs himself an "assassin," and even threatens to blow some DJ's brains out. I really can't imagine anything more tasteful or appropriate to Jam Master Jay's memory. And it's really no surprise Trick Trick is behind it all. I do mean that last sentence.
So, is it Art? No, it's Jesus, cognac, cigars, pistols, and sub-machine guns, with some occasional Bible Belt affectation. I can't imagine Trick Trick being upset, though; he has a persona, and he's glad you came to see it. Or, rather, be glad - it's all you'll get here.
Music Vibes: 5 of 10 Lyric Vibes: 3 of 10 TOTAL Vibes: 4 of 10
Originally posted: November 25, 2008