Tuesday, June 18, 2013
Swollen Members is one of my favorite rap groups of all time, certainly from the Northwest area. There was a time when they were actually the most successful Canadian rap group - I never saw it but I heard about billboards for their albums spotlighting the Vancouver, B.C. skyline. Their height was somewhere in the mid-2000s - not much has been heard from them since that epoch. Back in 2003, they were producing songs with artists like Nelly Furtado.
Time has passed. During that time, it appears the main guy from the group, Madchild, has had some serious drug problems. This doesn't make him unique - Eminem, Macklemore and yours truly have all dealt with that - perhaps it's part of being bonafide in the rap world? Seattle rapper Carl Roe told me once about his rap efforts being derailed by drugs as well - it's a common problem. Whatever hell he went through, Madchild is back - for the first time as a solo artist. He has a mixtape up on DatPiff and has produced videos for at least a dozen of the songs. His YouTube account is vibrant and productive.
Madchild actually lives up to his name quite a bit more in some of these videos than did as the Swollen Members leading man - his creepy stare in "Fuck Madchild" is really intense - with black and white editing that seems almost designed to make him seem off putting. The song itself introduces Madchild as not as polished as he may have been at the height of Swollen Members' success. There's no Moka Only or Nelly Furtado singing the hook and the intro where he seems off put when someone informs him he has to pay taxes shows that Madchild might be closer to loserhood than he was a couple years ago. You wonder if his name dropping Eminem protege Yelawolf is a hint at hoping to get back in to the rap game somehow.
Then there is the video, and this one is an actual video, for "Devil's Reject." It's a much different world than 2003 and one can now, if they have the resources, film a video that will go in any sort of direction without worrying about censorship and anything more than a few bad comments on YouTube. "Devil's Reject" is hardcore horrorcore - in the manner of songs like Eminem's "3 A.M." or JFK's "Paranoid." Madchild is naturally a gruff looking guy and the aging process, more tattoos and a weirdly successful attempt at appearing like Gary Ridgeway works in this video. Horrorcore is an absurd subgenre of hip-hop - somewhat like the equivalent of death metal. Please take it in jest and not too seriously.
Posted by Michael at 1:58 AM