As Chuck D
pointed out, Detroit has always been very underrated in regards to hip hop. While its major stars, like Esham
, J Dilla
, Kid Rock
and especially Insane Clown Posse have garned large fanbases and album sales, Detroit has never been particularly well respected by the hip hop elite. Perhaps Detroit's hip hop has not been treated as harshly as Florida, the state that produced 2 Live Crew
and Vanilla Ice
, but none of Detroit's rap stars have received any high level of fame and recognition that other states, like New York and Los Angeles have received.
Take Esham for example. Sure, he invented horrorcore and influenced a whole generation of face paint-wearing psychedelic rappers, but he's hardly known, even to fans of Eminem, who was strongly influenced by Esham. Insane Clown Posse is another one. While known to most of hip hop, and the subject of mass devotion to the largest and most dedicated music fanbase in the world, Juggalos, (often dubbed a cross between Deadheads and the Kiss Army), praise and recognition for the group's innovations is few and far between.
Noted as a huge influence on psychedelic and horror rap? No. An early example of the rock attitude meets rap-beats genre populated by Run-DMC
and the Beastie Boys
and their offspring? No. The only group in history to release an album that charts at #4 on the Billboard
200, despite the fact that no radio stations will play their songs, MTV doesn't play their videos, and music sites like this one diss them? No, they aren't recognized for that, either.
All of this is pretty strange, but when you're dealing with such an unusual and unique music group - that claims to get inspiration from a "Dark Carnival" that will judge you upon death - rule of thumb is, expect the unexpected. Let's get down to the nitty gritty here: Bang! Pow! Boom!
is a significant improvement over the group's lackluster The Tempest
. For the first time since Bizarre
, the group is fully collaborating with Detroit's second major music genius (after George Clinton
), Mike E. Clark
, who is so talented that he can even make Kid Rock listenable. Clark puts forward a lot of great work here, tossing MCs Violent J
and Shaggy 2 Dope
in and out of genres like a hurricane, like in "The Clowns are Back", which crosses hip hop with thrash metal, or the funky "Boing Boing", in which the group hilariously claims to be sex gods ("real women of the world love juggalos / ask my bitch, your mama knows").
Still, for my money, the funniest cut on the album is "To Catch a Predator", because, to me, nothing in the world is funnier than pedophiles being brutally murdered. Some of the cuts on here sound very modern, futuristic, and beyond mainstream hip hop - like "Fonz Pond". Others are very retro, and still beyond mainstream hip hop - like "Imma Kill You", which sounds like a lost Ice Cube
While Bang! Pow! Boom!
has been lauded by critics as one of the band's best albums, alongside The Amazing Jeckel Brothers
, I'm actually a little torn. Sure, it's an advancement in musical and lyrical form for this group, but I still think Beverly Kills 50187
might be better than the group's entire discography, if not for the fact that it sounds more like an Esham album than an Insane Clown Posse album.
Still, if you want to know where both Dr. Octagon
and Slim Shady got their ideas from, Bang! Pow! Boom!
is worth checking out. And for those still looking for an explanation for all the 1-star ratings for a group whose fanbase includes both Chuck D and Slash, here's the best I can come up with:
When a group's lyrical content often refers to the violent murder of racists, wife-beaters and pedophiles, a lot of racist, wife-beating pedophiles get pissed off and post negative ratings. Others are just plain ignorant of hip hop's history.
Bang! Pow! Boom!
stands as one of the best hip hop albums of 2009, proving once again that Detroit is king when it comes to hip hop. If you bought Eminem's Relapse
, Esham's I Ain't Cha Homey
, you already have this album.