Anyone who's caught The Drew Show on WTKS-FM knows that, in addition to his smart-ass mouth, Drew Garabo is also possessed of a serious love of hip-hop. Though he claims to be a "student of 'white rap'" (even confessing a love of Snow), Garabo's knowledge obviously extends beyond that and his show is constantly peppered with well-versed, old-school hip-hop references. Thus, when it came to getting a story in about MC Paul Barman -- white, smart-ass, rapper -- Drew seemed like the perfect candidate to profile the guy. The idea was to have one smart-ass interview the other smart-ass and let the verbal shrapnel fly. Alas, logistical problems on behalf of Barman's camp prevented this meeting of the minds. Nonetheless, we didn't want that to prevent Garabo from sharing his (and our) enthusiasm for the force of nature that is MC Paul Barman. -- JF By Drew Garabo
MC Paul Barman is one of the most creatively gifted lyricists the music world has ever seen or heard ... and his name probably isn't even vaguely familiar.
But how many artists would include a lyric sheet titled "The Jew Dork Rhymes" in their CD? And how many rappers are capable of moving from somewhat socially relevant rhymes like "Will Barnes and Noble harm the global? Will Amazon.com be around when gramma's gone, mom?" to the absolutely juvenile (yet still poignant) "Burping and Farting" and "Cock Mobster?" Just one: MC Paul Barman.
When Rolling Stone tagged Barman's "It's Very Stimulating" EP as one of the "Top Fifty Albums of 2000," readers everywhere undoubtedly shook their heads, wondering just what the venerable rag was talking about. In addition to only being 18 minutes long, the EP was built around sparse beats, cryptic lyrics and a style of rapping unfamiliar to the world of hip-hop. Those in the know could tell a new day was dawning in the musical universe. That day arrived with the recent release of Barman's full-length debut, "Paullelujah."
Produced by MikeTheMusicGuy (a West Coast compadre of Prince Paul and Dan the Automator), "Paullelujah" tackles weighty issues like the war on terror and school reform ("Make No Mistake") and having sex with celebrities (the aforementioned "Cock Mobster"). Barman even successfully delivers what may be rap's first eight-bar palindrome via "Bleeding Brain Grow":
Eve, Mika, RZA, Evil JD, Nasir is Osiris, and J-live, AZ, Rakim Cormega, Cage, Mr. OC: I'm anomie. I, mon ami.
Don't think it's a big deal? Read it backwards. Continuing his fascination with palindromes, "The Jew Dork Rhymes" offers more not included on the album, such as "Ha! I ram Mariah a lot, Tom Mottola." Rap music status quo, prepare to be humbled ... here comes Barman, the master of backward bullshit.
Let's not forget about the "Cock Mobster," one of "Paullelujah's" more notorious tracks (even if it's only spectacular in one direction). If Fred Schneider turned straight and sported a 200-plus I.Q., he might have penned such a ditty. An ode to banging female celebrities, it's simultaneously brilliant and hilarious. Check it, yo: "Winona Ryder? Goin' inside her. Lisa Bonet, I'd like a piece of yo' day ... I would jizz early inside Liz Hurley!" This is followed by a psuedo-impression of Mr. Schneider himself lisping and shouting "COCK MOBSTER!" Simply put, it's fucking brilliant.
Where other rappers might come off like Weird Al Yankovic on the novelty tip, MC Paul Barman instead manages to titillate in an elevated style. Barman simply has no contemporaries. He's as crazy as Kool Keith/Dr. Octagon, but smarter. He's the same color as Eminem and shares the Jewish heritage of the Beastie Boys, but that's where the similarites end. Commercially, "Paullelujah" won't even approach the last few digits of the sales generated by "The Eminem Show" ... and that's a damn shame, as Barman reaches a higher summit on the mountain. He's erudite, opinionated, brash, self-deprecating, funny, and most importantly ... he's a breath of fresh air in today's predictable "bling bling" world of hip-hop.