I’m going to grin and bear this one. Did you catch that skit on Ludacris’ latest, a preview for a “Ludacris Greatest Hits CD done by random white people”? Hilarious. I wanna be part of it. Let me do “Rollout”. “Off-beat as fuck”, haha… You don’t need a singing voice for it and in a basic manner it can be performed by anybody with the slightest sense of rhythm, that’s one of the reasons why rap has often attracted outsiders, turning onlookers into avid actors. Ultimately, that’s how rap music expanded from the Bronx to all around the globe. But not everybody approaching rap necessarily wanted to be a part of it. Debbie Harry took the train uptown, both in real life and in the movie “Wildstyle”, but Blondie’s “Rapture” wasn’t intended to make her a rap artist. Like everything new and popular, rapping also quickly became subject to parody. Mel Brooks made it the vehicle of parody with “It’s Good To Be The King (Rap)” in 1982, which technically makes him the first white man to record a rap. Chris Rock mocked gangster rappers in the movie “CB4” and in the ’80s comedian/radio DJ Russ Parr invented the Bobby Jimmy character to satirize Run-D.M.C., L.L., the Beasties and others on “N.Y. Rapper” and turned Whodini’s “Big Mouth” into “Big Butt”.

To some people rap is still such a novelty that their first reaction is to make fun of it. But in general the artform’s well established on the airwaves. I’m pretty sure they’re rapping karaoke somewhere on this planet. Cause rapping is fun, you see. And as easy as 1-2-3. At least that’s what some people think. In Germany, a group of radio jocks recorded a German version of “Rapper’s Delight” right in 1980. In Switzerland, the biggest selling national singer of all time rapped the first AIDS information campaign’s theme song in 1987, later making a statement to the effect that rapping is really easy to do. A hip-hop connaisseur would like to disagree, of course. Strictly speaking rap +never+ sounded like it did in those corny commercials where people were imitating rappers to sound cool or to clown around. So like The Notorious B.I.G. I’m saying to the Rappin’ Duke: “Duh-ha, duh-ha / you never thought that hip-hop would take it this far.”

Obviously, MC Potbelly is not satisfied with how far hip-hop has taken it. His press kit states:

‘MC Potbelly is the stage name of Anthony Oertel. Anthony Oertel is [a] 41-year-old, white, male insurance agent from Marin Country, California. When Anthony Oertel was growing up, hip hop and rap did not exist. Anthony was impressed by the simple lyrics and music of early rap (i.e. Sugar Hill Gang). Hip hop and rap evolved as Anthony graduated from college, received an MBA and served in the army. Anthony became disenchanted with the complicated rhymes of current rap music. Instead of complaining about rap and hip hop music, Anthony created his own CD.’

Well then. Anthony has not contented himself with just having ‘his own CD’, he bothered this here site with it. The whole thing is a joke, obviously. Mr. Oertel is not seriously pursuing a rap career, he’s just another weirdo who coincidentially found his outlet in rap music. He describes his ‘fictional character of MC Potbelly’ as ‘a middle-aged, white, not very successful pimp.’ If one credit is due here, it’s probably that he manages to come pretty close to that character. Because “My Favorites” sounds exactly like it was done on a PC by a chubby, 40+, white male who is downloading beats from Loopasonic to mumble sexual anecdotes over. A different way of ‘keeping it real’? If you switch the pimp role to that of a trick, yes. But who knows, maybe Anthony Oertel is not the customer who likes to think of himself as the pimp, maybe it’s just a strange coincidence that MC Potbelly sounds like a sexual fantasy an Anthony Oertel would indulge in.

Is that shit funny beyond the laughs it gets for its pure wackness? Well, my immature-ass alter ego, the one that worships Too $hort, thinks it is. Peep the opener “Horizontal”, about “a young hottie / with a nice body” (“she wanted to party”…) who does the “horizontal hip-hop” by herself after Potbelly is done:

“I had my orgasm
In her tight chasm
One final spasm

She looked perplexed
She asked who was next
She needed more sex

I told her I was a loner
With a one-shot boner
A single sperm donor

She got out of bed
Scratched her head
Turned to me and said:

I can’t stop
The horizontal hip-hop

I was too tired
My missile had fired

She pulled out a dildo
Wiped off the mildew
Said: This will have to do

But imitation is flattery
When she yelled at the battery:

Don’t stop
The horizontal hip-hop”

If Mr. Oertel is now laughing his fat ass off because he got me actually quoting his crappy rhymes, so be it. But this should give you an idea of what this guy is about. A couple of simple two- and three-liners that make up his 1-minute-plus songs, rhymes that sound like he decides how to spell them as he goes, one-take recordings, an awful, monotone, off-beat delivery, mis-matched loops, the lowest possible sound quality, and finally a crude mixture of macking, misogyny and self-mockery.

Dude has other things on his mind as well, as displayed in “Station of the Mind”, “Juice”, “Prisoner of a Drug War”, “Suburb” or “Grave”, but by using terms like ‘drive-by’, ‘five-o’, ‘hip-hop nation’ and adopting what looks like a black perspective, he looks all the more obsessed with something he should steer clear of. The same goes for genetics and spirituality, because his theory that your afterlife is determined by your genes (“Genetic Afterlife”) contradicts pretty much all scientific findings and religious beliefs. But wait, it ain’t over yet. As a special bonus, Potbelly has included his “Christmas Album” – basically more of the same crap. So, after 27 minutes, he’s finally done it. I don’t ever want to hear that freak again. Excuse me while I go put on MC Paul Barman.

MC Potbelly :: My Favorites
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