Album: Power Is Mindful Peace
Label: Brockway Entertainment
Rating: 3 / 10
Reviewer: A to the L
Pimp-T. Both the emcee’s name and the cover art conjure up images of a cool cat who checks his bank while smackin’ up bitches over Parliament samples, and Shaft excerpts, while cruising in his leopard-interiored six-fo, right? Wrong. Pimp-T seems to have a strong track record, with the New Brunswick resident receiving a top-five nomination for “Best Hiphop Recording” at the 2000 Urban Music Association Of Canada Awards, for ‘Tha Pimp-T Theme’. With the press blurb, promising “superior intellect” in his lyrics, and an “ability to rhyme and flow fluidly with a beat” Pimp-T certainly promised much with this, his debut album. So….
WHAT THE FUCK IS THIS?!?
This may well be your response when you first look at this. Why? Well let’s examine the evidence – the inlay cover and the website both show that Pimp-T, despite the ho-mackin’, cack-a-lackin’ moniker, is in fact a goofy-looking white Canadian with bad dress sense and a horrible choice in sideburns who resembles Bill Gates’ lovechild. Now I ain’t one to fall into the trap of stereotyping people based on their appearance – if that was the case I’d never have checked out cats like Camp-Lo, X-Clan, Em, or even De La, who all have appeared at some time in their careers as something a million miles away from the sterotypical rapper guise. Lets just say though that the spider sense is already tingling…
And when you actually hear the album… damn… some of the tracks on here feature incredibly funky beats which are unfortunately wasted on an emcee with one of the WORST voices I’ve ever heard. Pimp-T comes off like a wack Humpty Hump impersonator on acid – at first I thought it was some kind of a gimmick, similar to the way Shock G used to flit between his own voice and the false-nosed one on DU cuts. But, as each track progressed and these strange sounding vocals continued to infect the beats, I realised that this was Pimp-T’s REAL voice. And its not just his voice – his flow, his timing over the beats, his breath control… its all wack.
The weird thing about the whole thing is that listening to the album is STILL a strangely compelling experience – like rubber-neckers at the scene of a car accident, you just can’t help looking and listening despite the fact that this is one horrific car wreck of an album. You find yourself wondering how this guy’s stoned cartoon hippy vocals could ever fit over ANY beats comfortably, never mind the ones of this album.
Oh yeah, the beats… like I said before, the beats here ARE quite strong in places. Standouts include the kids-TV-theme feel of ‘Hippity Hop’, the blazing ‘Number One’ which is constructed around a nice piano loop and a scratched James Brown sample and features “normal-sounding” emcees Kween and Tech Thai, and the sparse ‘No Production Budget’ where Above and Budget rip the mic to shreds before Pimp-T closes with another shite-vocalled verse. Sometimes however the beats seem to try and match the off-the-wallness that Pimp-T seems to want to emit, and in cases like the preppy indie vibe of ‘Moma’, and the worst-electro-track-in-the-world ‘Party Slam’, the bullshit meter goes off the scale. Experimentation is cool, but I think you need to have the basics in place first before you start to dabble with more abstract shit.
Its really hard to imagine what the ambition was with this album. Satire? Hmm… ok, I admit that in places some of the lines are quite funny, and there are some clever attacks on mainstream rap stereotypes, but a whole album full of little in-jokes can only work in rare instances (see Black Sheep’s “Wolf In Sheep’s Clothing”, or “De La Soul Is Dead”.) Proving emcee status? Hard to see how this could ever work – the voice is so off-putting it distracts from anything clever that Pimp-T could ever come off with.
So, what’s the verdict? Hmmm… highbrow, smarter-than-thou, abstract rhymes in places… an almost complete lack of flow or timing… Anticon fans should snap this up. This is definitely their type of shit. For me, though I think I’ll stick to my Ja-Rule and DMX albums… (and THAT’S satire.)