Posted tagged ‘Black Eyed Peas’

Will I. Am is the Worst Rapper of the Decade

February 2, 2009
Courtesy Jurvetson on Flickr

Courtesy Jurvetson on Flickr

When The Hague’s war crimes commission is expanded to include crimes against music, the list of defendants will be long and the determination of who swings and who is absolved will be a grisly, painful matter. Legions of former music industry powerhouses will stand before the tribunal to shamelessly declare their innocence, insisting before god and man that they were nowhere near Kanye’s studio when he first adopted AutoTune, that they were actually opposed to American Idol the entire time, secretly running an indie label dedicated to undermining the regime, or that they were only “following orders”.

And much like the Nuremburg trials, these defenses will probably have some limited success for the small fries, sparing thousands of verified musical monsters from the chopping block, freeing them to start over anew, this time somewhere in South America where copyright law isn’t so strict and former employees of Tommy Mottola can mingle with Murder Inc. underlings living in hiding, without any fear of judicial reprisal. Even so, some crimes will be too terrible to forgive, too blatant to conceal and too aesthetically cancerous to allow to go unpunished. And on the final day, when the instigators of the musical holocaust that defined the last decade are at last punished, first to meet the firing squad will be the Worst Rapper Of The Decade, the Black Eyed Peas’ own Will I. Am.

Before going further, it’s important first to note that term sellout gets thrown around a lot, usually aimed at people who once were once known only to a small number of highly inquisitive music fans, and now have now amassed enough financial success that going to their shows feels like visiting high school again – tons of douchebags who act like jerks. Thing is, this usually isn’t the fault of the band. After all, they didn’t like douchebags either, or they would have formed a group like Puddle of Mudd or G Unit. Better in most cases to be happy that the band you like won’t have to go back to answering phones for Sprint, right?

There’s also the critical semantic failure caused by throwing the term around thoughtlessly – by using is too frequently, you dillute the meaning of the word to the point that it becomes impossible to understand what you’re actually trying to say. In this case, accusing someone of selling out is to literally accuse them of treason, of hypocrisy, of betraying everything they believed in in exchange for some kind of tangible reward that helps them considerably while simultaneously ruining the cause they fought so dearly for. It must be used only when needed and even then very sparingly but as you can imagine, the term is generally nothing more than lazy, angry hyperbole.

If Will I. Am is remembered for anything, it’s going to be forever re-strengthening the term. The Black Eyed are total sellouts. No, they didn’t just sell-out, they sold the fuck out. In fact, I am only using the term at all because there isn’t a stronger way to describe the transformation of the BEP from mediocre but sincere hip hop to the dumbest fucking music of all time.

Like many of history’s greatest road-to-hell paving monsters, Will I. Am started out with arguably good intentions. As the whole world now knows he came up in 1998 as the chief brain of Black Eyed Peas, then the least notable part of the late 90s positivity movement in rap, distinguished from the early 90s variety because it largely was a reaction against the gangsta/ghetto fabulous genres that eventually became the bland, wide mainstream of Hip Hop. Fellow bland luminaries (blandinaries?) of the genre included the surprisingly neuter Jurassic 5, Blackstar (featuring previous Worst Rapper nominee Mos Def) and the Dark Crystal style hip hop dystopia that is every member of the Fugees as a solo artist.

Unfortunately, Resistance was futile. The fact that both Eminem and 50 Cent have starred in their own biopics (an honor previously shared by Muhammed Ali and Audie Murphey) – while Lauryn Hill is… somewhere. Doing, um, something? – is evidence enough that this well-meaning attempt to stop Hip Hop’s douchey decline failed, utterly. Most of the affiliated artists moved on as best they can. Lauryn Hill joined her fellow Fugees in devoting all her time to hating her former bandmates. Mos Def is now better known as an actor who wastes his talent rather than a rapper who wastes his talent. Jurassic 5 broke up in 2007. The thing they all have in common is extremely infrequent attempts to create music, for which the world is, mostly, thankful.

Not so the Black Eyed Peas, who, despite all odds and against the strict orders of God and man, have become one of the biggest and most successful rap groups in the country.

Here’s what BEP sounded like when they came on the scene:

It’s o-kay. Nothing special but nothing offensive either. At worst, you could say this might be remembered as a well-meaning attempt to redux A Tribe Called Quest. Easily forgotten but at least you aren’t scarred by the experience. The reason Will I. Am is now the Worst Rapper of the Decade is what they sound like now (or technically, as of their most recent album):

Holy. Fuck.

Watch that shit again.

Holy. Fucking. Fuck.

The ways in which this song is terrible are beyond counting, but the most egregious violations of good taste are easy to identify. First, the lyrics are objectively terrible:

What you gon’ do with all that junk?
All that junk inside your trunk?
I’ma get, get, get, get, you drunk,
Get you love drunk off my hump.

That’s the kind of lazy shit I would have come up with in 10th grade when I still thought maybe I wanted to form a rap group. But that’s not the real problem. Junk? Trunk? Drunk? All rhymes. But Love? Hump? Seriously. Seriously. Black Eyed Peas are Multi-Platinum selling artists who get paid to rhyme and they have to resort to a near rhyme, and one that isn’t even cheated a little to make it seem more rhymey? Weak. Olde English weak. Weake.

Come on Will, you’re a rapper! If you can’t even rhyme then what the hell are we paying you for? Look, I consulted a rhyming dictionary, and searched using the word “hump”. I got 61 results. 61! And I’m not even a rapper. Wouldn’t that earlier quoted line sound so much clearer as:

What you gon’ do with all that clump?
All that thump inside your frump?
I’ma get, get, get, get, you pump,
Get you lump mump off my hump.

Still fucking stupid, yes, but at least now it actually rhymes. Of course, that’s not the only problem. There’s also the terrifying fact that the song displays a crucial misunderstanding about basic human anatomy that ought to have medical professionals alarmed:

My hump, my hump, my hump, my lovely little lumps (Check it out)

and:

You love my lady lumps

This is just wrong. For the next 30 years we can probably look forward to a mass die off of 14th century proportions as the muddled Lyrics of My Humps lead a generation of women and men to¬† falsely interpret cancerous tumors as erogenous zones. Stop and think Will! If you get to feel a woman’s “Lady Lumps”, it means it’s time for a trip to the doctor, not the lingerie shop! YOU ARE PROBABLY GOING TO GET YOUR WIFE KILLED IF YOU DON’T CONSULT A DOCTOR BEFORE YOUR NEXT SINGLE IS RELEASED!

Reputedly, Will. I. Am wrote My Humps in about 30 seconds. And it shows. And yet, because it came out during the same decade that Americans voted for Bush twice(ish) and actually believed there might be a connection between Saddam Hussein and Osama Bin Ladin, you can guess what happened: The nation embraced the song it was the second coming of Beethoven, bought up 9 million copies of this crap and made it the BEP’s most successful album ever. Awesome.

Thanks to Will I. Am, we will never be able to enjoy a wedding again. This song has replaced Baby Got Back as the official The Precious of annoying White Women everywhere. But his crimes are worse because in addition to inflicting the worst hit single in modern pop history, he also bestowed upon a weary nation something far, far worse. Earlier, I said that Will I. Am is a sellout because there isn’t a more effective word. I was wrong. There is.

“Fergier”.

Will I. Am is a Fergier.

What, you ask, is a Fergier?

Fergier

-Noun.

1. a person who makes a living inflicting an insufferable, marginally talented entertainer  onto the general public without prior and express consent.
2. (slang) someone who derives sexual pleasure from the simultaneous sexual assault of another person’s ears, eyes and memory. See also Will I. Am.

Now, obviously, Fergie is bad enough to warrant her own entry in this list (and believe us, it will come!), but like global warming, the disease is terrible but the cause must first be identified before a solution can be devised. Will I. Am is that cause. So ignore her awfulness on its own merits, and consider that Will I. Am specifically writes songs for that awfulness.

He also helped Barack Obama jump the shark. Well, not helped so much as kidnapped him, tied him to a sufboard and jumped the shark for him.

Remember how inspiring Obama is? After watching this, how many weeks did it take before you stopped feeling cheesy after listening to him speak.? It took me approximately 3 before I could watch the man without seeing Scarjo’s (superhot but ridiculous) face.

Will I. Am isn’t the worst rapper in terms of Talent. But in terms of his nefarity and evil impact in the world, the answer is clear – Will I. Am is the Worst Rapper of the Decade. QED.