“This record ain’t about me”
Well who’s it about then? It’s about Joeski Love’s alter ego “Joe Cool.” No, not Snoopy’s alter ego. We’re already off to a bad start when your actual rap name is more distinctive than your alternate persona, but let’s be honest that there’s nothing cool about either Joe. With a name straight out of the late 1970’s and a persona that could be described as the corniest parts of MC Hammer and Will Smith combined together, this would be star of 1990 was outdated from the start. He picked exactly the wrong moment to release “Joe Cool.” An already hard rap scene was only getting harder as the decade changed, while Joeski Love would have been too “positive” for even Lovebug Starski.
In hindsight the goofy lyrics of songs like “Swing” (“Like a Christmas gift we’re going to wrap/rap up the crowd”) should’ve been obvious. Joeski Love’s one and only true claim to fame is the “Pee Wee Dance,” a novelty rap song and dance craze based on Pee-wee Herman. You nay not even know the track, but you’ve probably heard the interjection “HUH? WHAT?” sampled in a hundred songs over the years. “You jump around, act like a fool/Some think it’s kind of dumb but I think it’s cool.” That was the height of his lyrical aptitude in 1986, and he didn’t get any “cooler” in the four years that followed. When he claims to be “Livin’ Large in the Nineteez’s” the spelling alone convinces you that he’s not, and tracks like “Kik in Flavor” don’t help matters one bit.
If there’s a textbook example of a one hit wonder rapper trying to drag his career out beyond that hit, “Joe Cool” might be it. Although Hurby Luv Bug and The Invincibles try their best to drag some coolness out of this square, it simply can’t be done. The closest they come is the piano riff and sung hook of “Everyday Thing” and Mr. Love still manages to ruin it by rhyming “floozy” with “Jacuzzi.” He claims he gets no peace at the studio because girls are all over him, but this guy doesn’t have one tenth of the charm or charisma of Heavy D. The girls, the girls they don’t love him.
I keep trying to imagine Joeski Love trying to tour with this album and playing to clubs with a capacity of 500 where only five are standing around drinking, two are playing pool, and one is his manager. When the height of your popularity is the “Pee Wee Dance” you should stop right there and retire, but bless him Joeski Love kept trying to be “Cool” in spite of the obvious truth. Take it from somebody who knows he’s not cool — it’s best not to fake it because you only look worse. In fact it’s arguably more “cool” to be a nerd when you can own it without apology. Instead Joeski spends this whole album trying to imitate Slick Rick, Tone Loc and Fresh Prince without doing any of the things they do right. “Joe Cool” isn’t the worst thing I’ve listened to this week, this month or this decade but it’s not worth a moment of your time beyond one good laugh at how cornball he is.