Review Summary: A raw, energetic performance by Limp Bizkit at their best. May not have the commercial appeal of SO and Hot Dog, but $3 Dollar Bill is an explosive, frenetic, sometimes experimental performance.
I get it: it's cool and fashionable to hate Limp Bizkit. Corey Taylor of Slipknot has said that singer Fred Durst "is a great businessman, but not as a musician." And I understand that. Fred Durst does things to raise eyebrows, whether it's the "Ladies Night in Cambodia" promotion he created over a decade ago, or public feuds with Slipknot and other bands.
But that's not what this album is about. $3 Dollar Bill was about a band, who at the time, was trying to establish themselves as legitimate musicians in the industry. Say what you want about Fred Durst, but the musicians behind him are very, very good for a rapcore band. Despite the hate LB gets, people at least respect the guitar playing (and hilarious stage costumes) of Wes Borland. And Sam Rivers (bass) is also pretty solid. Oftentimes, the bass guitar is inaudible (nonexistent) and Rivers definitely adds the funk-rock to this band.
$3 Dollar Bill, Ya'll is definitely remembered for the frenetic energy LB brought to the table. All you have to do is look up the Woodstock 1999 or Family Values 1998 tours to get a glimpse of it.
Let's start with Durst. If the details about his personal life are to be believed, the guy's been through a lot. (prior to this album) He's not a great singer-a bit too whiny sometimes. But he can definitely scream, as evidenced on songs like "Pollution" and "Stuck". And that's one of the good things about the Bizkit-not many other nu-metal bands of this era have a vocalist that can scream as well as Fred.
Let's face it-you probably don't listen to Limp Bizkit to hear them play slow songs (like the ones on Results May Vary.) And that's a huge relief, because on $3 Dollar Bill, there is nothing really "slow", with the exception of the 16-minute album closer, "Everything". Durst, Borland, and Co. are best when they emulate the raw energy of this album and their live performances.
The album itself is quite good. Songs like "Counterfeit" and a fun cover of George Michael's "Faith" are probably the two best songs on here, but "Pollution" is my favorite song on here. It contains a seriously infectious guitar riff by Wes Borland, and it displays Fred's penchant for screaming. (clearly!)
"Sour" is a pretty good song, too. I like the opening line "Mellow out! Bitch". And it's one of the many songs that displays LB's use of smooth, funky hip-hop with a solid bassline backing him up. A side note-bass player Sam Rivers isn't the savior of the band by any means, but he makes Fred's raps more memorable, for sure.
"Bring that ******* beat back!
FRED SHUT THE **** UP!
And we're done."
(from the end of Pollution.)
I'd be lying if there wasn't some filler here, though. "Nobody Loves Me" comes off as whiny and insecure, "Everything" is a 16-minute instrumental track (I doubt LB's fans are buying this record for instrumental songs) and Indigo Flow is the requisite "shout-out" song, though the end of it is pretty explosive.
Epilogue-Even people who hate Limp Bizkit seem to be okay with this album. And why not" It's equal parts hip-hop, metal, rap, and funk. If it wasn't for the fact that every song on here is explosive and fast, I'd probably rate it lower. But it's pure testosterone and emotion here. And the best part is, $3 Dollar Bill is a solid album without being explicitly made for commercial acceptance.
I'm giving $3 Dollar Bill a 4/5.
Important songs: Faith, Pollution, Counterfeit, Sour, Stink Finger.
Songs to skip: Nobody Loves Me