MC Randumb and Jewish Dave, two rappers outta Las Vegas, whose new project Songs in the Key of Murder has risen out of the ashes of The Polar Bear MC's (aka The Killa Korpse Gangstaz). What might you expect from horror rap in the new millennium post-Insane Clown Posse and Grave Diggaz success? I have absolutely no idea. Why? Because I'm not a huge fan of horror rap. That isn't to say that I dislike rap at all. I'll be the first person at a party to throw on some Run DMC or Public Enemy perhaps a little Judgement Night Soundtrack, but horror rap despite having the word horror in the subgenre has not musically or lyrically spoken to me. Oh I'm open to suggestions. If you have a horror rap act that you think I might dig by all means shut me down now and let me take a listen, but until that time know that I'm writing this review as a "spectator". Horror rap...not my thing (except 1-800-Suicide by the Grave Diggaz and that was included on the Tales From the Crypt: Demon Knight Soundtrack). I even like Psychobilly and Horror Punk, horror movie scores and even sound effects loops (I love sound effects loops).
What I want to tell you about MC Randumb and Jewish Dave will be spoken to fans of this subgenre or horror rap. I'm going to try and circumvent my distaste for the style and work within the framework of what I know about other acts that are lumped in to this category. This is not to be taken as a finger shaking, less in morality because the fucking world knows that we don't need another Tipper Gore. I'm going to offer some suggestions based on what I've heard work in some of my favorite horror related music, but also recognize dear reader that these guys do a few things quite well.
First off this album has a great cover. Songs in the Key of Murder features a girl with quality headphones staring at a computer monitor displaying our dastardly duo with her ears spilling copious blood. Before I listened to the music itself I realized that we had a couple of comedians. I think that the horror rap gaggle of artists has tongue firmly in cheek when writing. Think less Cannibal Corpse, serious about murdering your mother and more Nekromantix, we want to tell you a joke and make a few excellent puns (yes I love Psychobilly ironically). If you received an album like this on full fledged vinyl you would showcase it to your friends. The title itself pulls from the contemporary naming convention for classical albums, but one must ask himself, "what is the key of murder?"
Each song title on the album includes the word "murder" as in "Murder 4 Fun", "Musta Been Murda", "Shut Your Mouth (Or You're Gonna Get Murdered)", "The Murder Bros"... you get the point (see full track listing over at bandcamp.com SONGS IN THE KEY OF MURDER. As I've said before, you've got a couple of comedians who are going to give you a rap ride on the horror side. I'll admit that a chuckled through the song titles. This type of humor speaks to horror fans. We like clever plays on words in our naming convention. Historically, horror likes to make us laugh just as much it wants to make us piss ourselves with fright. I can definitely appreciate the effect of naming every song on the album with the word "murder" in the title.
The content contained within each track... that's a horse of a different color. The songs feature repetitive use of the word "murder", but what you begin to realize is that the cadence with which the chorus is repeated has a similar feel and the melody is near identical (not always but more than I'd care for in any album). Between the choruses you have some fairly generic kill scenes with rap leanings, but I'm not a fan of overly serious mentions of shooting anyone in a song. I need a story that leads up to a kill and not simply a kill when it comes to this type of violence . If the violence is creative in some way, I can get behind that too. I'm not a fan of some of the misogynistic lyrics. I know that both aspects that I have been critical of our somewhat common themes in horror rap, so let me reiterate that it's not that these topics are included, but I would prefer more creative kills and a little more love when it comes to the ladies. I listen to friggin' Motley Crue and they sang "Girls, Girls, Girls", so I understand that it's not all puppy dogs, box o' chocolate and romance, but let's not stick anything anywhere the ladies don't want us to... unless of course it's violent and creative and we can realize that your telling a story and not giving a command. I don't believe that Randumb and Dave are bad guys, or that the intent was to be anything other than comedy or genre adherent, but I'd prefer to have seen a unique use of these subject matters if they must use these stereotypes. I like porn as much as the next juggalo (that's what the ICP fans call themselves right... EEP!) Great, now that I've taken the whole thing too seriously and lost all my street cred.. let me telling you what you'll like about this album.
If you're a fan of the genre than you'll like this album. Song construction and quality are good and overall it has some comedic moments. You'll probably want to drink at least a Four Loko before cranking this up. The intro track let's you know your in for a comedy filled romp and the song titles should clue you in. Don't expect a deep seeded emotional experience. There's blood and gore and sex and MURDER. If you can get behind that you'll enjoy the listen.
What I would have loved to change about this album besides the lyrical content providing more narrative is the use of segues. Add more transitional tracks with MC Randumb & Jewish Dave talking. You can tell they're funny guys and breaking up the murder monotony with some colorful dialogue would be a sweet touch. This ain't Abbey Road and this ain't a" medley of murder" (yes, I just went there). I would also like to see mixes that do not throw the vocals in your face. These fellas have musical talent. It'd be nice to showcase some deeper mixes that build the creep out tonally and not just relaying on lyrics to carry the murder message. Some of these mixes you've heard before, some will feel fresh. You pick.
The album ends with a cliffhanger, and you wonder what the sequel will be. As MC Randumb & Jewish Dave work to perfect their craft I wish them well. More album covers like this guys. Overall this type of music does not appeal to me, but music with a horror direction is close to my heart. Let's see what the next incarnation of these two fiends brings us. You can purchase the album through the link included with the article and sample some of their offerings. At $5 for download, you won't murder your wallet trying to get hip with this murder duo.
One last thing before I go... This comedic due is using a murder game to promote their album. Very ingenious. It's not going to push you past the limits of Frogger, but moving bodies around a graveyard is a pretty great way to spend a Friday night don't you agree? Hilarious.Follow the link to play.
SONG IN THE KEY OF MURDER: THE VIDEO GAME
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