There’s been a huge dearth in rap’s comedic contributions for who knows how long. I’m not talking about the stuff these cats do on their free time like Pimpin’ Curly, the whereabouts of Yung Berg’s chain or seemingly anything related to Lil B. Additionally I’m not including the usual “he raps so bad it’s funny” schtick either. The focus here is strictly on how today’s rap records don’t do much to make audiences laugh.
It’s understood that today’s rap ears want to have a good time (i.e. party, drink etc.) With that said there’s more than one way to enjoy yourself and crackin’ jokes is always a great way to lighten the mood. Too bad the humor rap lane has been underutilized in recent years. Of course being funny, let alone incorporating funny lyrics into a song, isn’t easy. That doesn’t mean capable rappers shouldn’t try to dive into those waters. Plenty have done it in the past with a few examples following. So what’s the excuse for today’s MCs?
Biz Markie came out before my time but he’s got some funny records under his belt. “Just a Friend” is an easy way out of an example since it’s a well known song. Also, the out of date styles featured in the video unintentionally add comedic value to the video. All things considered, hearing this man fumble about on love lost along with the visuals solidified it a set piece on how to infuse comedy in hip-hop tracks. Biz is always mentioned when humor in traditional rap songs are a discussion topic and rightfully so. He was one of the first to do it successfully and, despite is not quite bright image, that’s something you can’t take away from him.
Busta Rhyme’s did more than create great records at his peak. He also took the extra step with his videos to make him and his brand stand out extremely well from the pack. “Dangerous” is no different even though the song in question isn’t meant to make you chuckle. No one asked for this man to play a white faced Mel Gibson in a Lethal Weapon meets The Last Dragon flick. But he and his team went above and beyond for a memorable yet “WTF”-worthy effort. Still, audiences laughed all the same when the video was in rotation so the it served it’s purpose. Music videos may have fallen by the waist side in budgets and quality. Nevertheless this isn’t out of the scope of a high budget production in today’s industry.
Project Pat’s “Chickenhead” still gets laughs from me without fail. His flow matched with the lyrics and subject matter made for some entertaining material: especially in his 2nd verse exchange with La Chat. “Don’t Save Her,” based on E-40’s “Captain Save A Hoe,” . The lion’s share of Comic View comedians should’ve taken notice because Pat had ‘em beat.
“Head of State,” a parody inspired by Wacka Flocka’s “Hard in the Paint,” is the funniest thing rap has seen in awhile. Unfortunately, parodies are about the best the genre has done in regards to incorporating laughs into records. If that wasn’t the case then cats like Lonely Island wouldn’t be viral video success stories: SNL affiliation notwithstanding. Nevertheless, this form of comedy shouldn’t be the only way to make buzz via funny records.
Rap is ripe for an artist, or group of artists, that can rhyme, make records and music videos that make people literally laugh out loud. It’s as if the genre took itself far too seriously to the point where vets and rookie alike don’t think to venture down the comedic path. A witty punch line or diss here and there are welcome. But whole songs centered around hilarious lyrics are hard to come by these days. Any rapper that can fit the bill would definitely make a name for himself. That’s not to say those who can’t or aren’t comfortable with cracking jokes ought to start at the drop of a hat.
Still, it feels like making hilarious, light hearted records and videos are frowned on to the point where it’s not even an option. Such isn’t the case if you’re an actor or a comedian but that doesn’t mean a rapper shouldn’t take part in that arena. Basically, it wouldn’t hurt if the genre chilled for a moment and let funny artists get loose on a few records. Legitimizing and individualizing yourself as an artist is already an uphill battle. However it’s possible do both all while poking fun at yourself and others: just ask Busta Rhymes, Eminem or Ludacris to name a few. Plus it’s not like consumers are abject to side-splitting rhymes since the aforementioned artists ate well from making funny songs and/or videos.
So what’s the hold up? Rap, hell music in general, is ripe for some amusing, out of the box content. It’s just too bad we don’t have much to choose from considering all the material ripe for clowning.