Music News

MC Paul Barman

Geeky, hyperintelligent, and straight outta Brown University, white-boy rapper MC Paul Barman made quite a splash three years ago with It's Very Stimulating, his debut EP. The record, produced by hip-hop innovator Prince Paul (Stetsasonic, De La Soul), was wacky, extremely original and very Jewish, and it won accolades from critics for its witty references and Byzantine rhymes.

Sillier and dirtier, Paullelujah!, Barman's first full-length effort, is a completely retarded album about "hairy moth owls" and "Choco Tacos." One tune, "A Somewhat New Medium," is a jazzy, spoken-word number and a fine piece of absurdist nonsense about a woman with parrot shit on her back. Yet the album also manages to somehow be fairly sophisticated. There's a thoughtful, folky acoustic tune that's not hip-hop in the slightest called "Talking Time Travel," a paean to pre-rap rhymers, Woody Guthrie in particular. Barman usually prefers sarcasm, but he appears to be sincere here. The song's rhymes aren't as snazzy as on some of his other tunes, but it still is a striking number because it's so different. You probably won't hear anything like it on any other hip-hop record.

Throughout the album, Barman proudly shows off his Ivy League education, writing mad, scrawling lines with plenty of big words, which he spews forth with a neurotic dork-type flow. When he's not name-dropping Strunk and White's The Elements of Style, he's rapping about boning everybody from actresses to feminists to cute, college girl types. This sort of humor is very junior high school, but that might be construed by some to be a good thing. His first single, "Cock Mobster," is so over-the-top and nasty, girls will probably think it's gross, while guys will call it brilliant. Regardless, this whimsical, ridiculous album is true to the secondhand, upper-middle-class hip-hop experience, of which Barman is the most talented product yet.

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Adam Bregman