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mc chris - mc chris is dead (Cover Artwork)

mc chris

mc chris: mc chris is deadmc chris is dead (2008)
mc chris LLC

Reviewer Rating: 4
User Rating:


Contributed by: Dante3000Dante3000
(others by this writer | submit your own)

As opposed to going into some long, drawn-out introduction as to why I'd review mc chris's latest album, mc chris is dead, I just thought I'd say that with certain reviews as of late, maybe a slightly punk-influenced hip-hop/rap album might be appropriate. For those who don't know, mc chris (all .
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As opposed to going into some long, drawn-out introduction as to why I'd review mc chris's latest album, mc chris is dead, I just thought I'd say that with certain reviews as of late, maybe a slightly punk-influenced hip-hop/rap album might be appropriate.

For those who don't know, mc chris (all lowercase, no dots) was born Christopher Brendan Ward IV. Before picking up a career as an MC (short for Master Chief, of course) Chris was best known as the voice of Hesh in "Sealab 2021" or MC P. Pants on "Aqua Teen Hunger Force," both on Adult Swim. Chris rapped a little in his free time and actually got to have some of his music showcased in the cartoons. In 2001 he put out Life's a Bitch and I'm Her Pimp with the mc chris moniker. The lack of capitalization and punctuation was done to highlight the fact that he didn't take the project too seriously, as it was originally meant to be a joke and an outlet for Chris's drunk antics. Through the magic of the interwebs mc chris's song, "Fett's Vette," caught on with Star Wars fans looking to combine their love of obscure Star Wars cannon, tight rhymes and high-pitched vocals and an internet phenomenon was born.

Over the course of the last seven years, mc chris has released five more albums, been on and off DC Flag Records, has returned to self-releasing albums and has toured more feverishly than many punk bands half his age. With mc chris is dead, mc chris continues to give hardcore fans what they love, while demonstrating that he doesn't want to be put in a particular genre cage. The most startling part of the album is the lack of producer/beatmaker John Fewell, who has been on hand for all of mc chris's previous albums. In Fewell's place is Andrew Futral, vocalist and multi-instrumentalist of the Age of Rockets. While this may throw off a few long-time mc chris fans, it's a great switch and works to the album's benefit. Futral adds a great deal more depth musically than can be found on any previous mc chris albums. The songs aren't merely raps over beats, as can be said of some of mc chris's earlier work, but rather cohesive structures that seem to have been put together cooperatively, so that both the vocals and the beats complement each other.

The addition of Futral's beats also help the album address a long-standing issue that has followed mc chris regarding his relationship with "nerdcore"-style hip-hop. While mc chris does share common themes with what many consider "nerdcore," he has been adamant that he seeks to expand his music and reach general music fans (something perhaps not possible by other nerdcore pioneers such as MC Frontalot and MC Hawking). Futral helps by allowing the music to have a more complete sound and not having the music relay solely on the content or the style of the MC (as is typical for most nerdcore). For his part, mc chris has worked hard to pen some of his most clever and universally relatable songs. While nerd elements are clearly present in songs such as "Nrrrd Grrrl" and "Reese," there are also songs about alienation ("The Masturbation Song"), determination ("Never Give Up") and even some braggadocio ("Kill It"). Though hardcore critics may still pigeonhole the album, it is clear that mc chris is serious about expanding his music and his audience.

While mc chris is branching out thematically, lyrically, he's every bit the wordsmith he's demonstrated on previous albums and perhaps even sharper than before. The album kicks off with the title track and mc chris spinning a web of words about his own untimely death and his eventual resurrection as a zombie (following a story arch set up in his previous album Dungeon Master of Ceremonies). The track is filled with so many twists turns and rhymes, that lines such as, "(MC Chris is dead!) On arrival, watch his rivals revel the jealous / Relish the moment their opponent went sublevel / Six feet under, what a bummer, it's no wonder the waste / Could have been a contender, now maggots march in his face" may take a few listens to fully decipher (though that may not be added by his delivery...more on that later). Even on more benign subject matter mc chris lights up the mic. On the track "Reese" mc chris puts together a flow about the history of Reese's Pieces that's not only thorough but done so well you actually enjoy the track despite the History Channel-like subject matter.

Any major complaints with mc chris is dead are likely to be very similar to those that have followed on previous albums, and I'll address them in order of their frequency (or at least the ones I hear the most). Number one, "mc chris's voice is high/annoying." Yes, it's high and a bit nasally at times, but it's one of those like it or hate it aspects of his music. It's how he's always sounded and fans enjoy it, critics don't. Number two, "the skits suck." True -- one need only thumb through most commercial rap to see that the "skit track" is possibly the worst addition to any album. What these sketches have going for them is they do follow a loose story arch over the albums and they tend to utilize humor that appeals to mc chris's audience. Additionally, the skits on mc chris is dead seem much less harsh than the screaming that occupied Knowing Is Half the Hassle and better planned out and recorded than all of his previous skits. The other main critique is probably around the various releases of this album. There was the original digital download version with 10 tracks, the original CD release with 16 tracks (the version in this review) and the recently expanded "black" version, with at least one extra song. It's a lot to keep up with, especially for an artist who may not be at your local Best Buy or record store. Save for the bevy of re-releases, many of the complaints are aspects that will always be presented by detractors and to his credit mc chris seems to have taken the time to consciously improve his delivery on this album and to make the skits more purposeful to the story and not just album filler.

What mc chris did with mc chris is dead could easily have blown up in his face. Many times artists attempt to broaden their musical base and they end up alienating long-time fans, while making an album that isn't interesting (or good) enough to attract new ones. Instead, the album expands on mc chris's existing brand of humorous, outsider lyrics with more universal themes and pairs them with music that's exciting and fitting. While it may not thrill hardline "nerdcore" kids, it might win over some folks still on the fence. Plus, with references to NOFX and the Mr. T Experience and a track featuring Andrew W.K., it may even be acceptable to a few punks.

 

 
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Fine Print: The following comments are owned by whoever posted them. We are not respon sible for them in any way. Seriously.
inagreendase (January 16, 2009)

If I could make a shortlist of stuff that came out last year that I just do not get, this would probably be on it. Would also include: Trapped Under Ice. Lil Wayne. Vivian Girls.

fattony (January 15, 2009)

Not really a fan of his music, but this mc chris clip never ceases to crack me the fuck up:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3b8G8delDlk

leecorsoisapenis (January 15, 2009)

"The Jon Benjamin cameo in this album's skit wins it."

On that note, Home Movies was the best show Adult Swim ever had. Except for Tim and Eric awesome show, of course.

Score is for those two shows.

dante3000 (January 15, 2009)

About the skits, I really dig that there's a bit more subtly in these ones. I love when the guys like, "It's like that picture where you see a vase, but really it's just two women facing each other (Oh, I know what he's talking about)" I love that line for some reason.
-Dante

Jesse (January 14, 2009)

The Jon Benjamin cameo in this album's skit wins it.

inagreendase (January 14, 2009)

I don't think any of the shows on Adult Swim, save King of the Hill, are funny at all.

Even that show doesn't count, though.

miniblindbandit (January 14, 2009)

re: Dante

definitely my favorite skit set.

I'm gonna smash your head into the side of the stall (no! you wouldnt!) until it goes all the way through the stall (all the way thr-) creating a gloryhole (a gloryhole...) and then im gonna go around to the other side and then im gonna stick my cock anonymously through the glory hole and if it doesn't get sucked i dont know what im gonna do.

dante3000 (January 14, 2009)

i dug up your great-grandmother. her cunt tasted like skeletons.
Do you know what a glory hole is?
-Dante

miniblindbandit (January 14, 2009)

i dug up your great-grandmother. her cunt tasted like skeletons.

Jesse (January 14, 2009)

I got that jam! the jam that makes you gooooooo to work! work work! work work!

that pizza buuuuuuutt!

psychosis_cheer (January 14, 2009)

One of my fav. albums of last year, everyone loves his music when they hear it, Ive not met one person who has ever said anything negative about it after listening to it.

Apeman_on_the_moon (January 14, 2009)

Is there something wrong with me, because I don't think any of the shows on Adult Swim, save King of the Hill, are funny at all.

dante3000 (January 14, 2009)

Typically I try to trim my reviews a bit but this really deserved the length for a couple of reasons:
1) It's the first mc chris review on the Org and a bunch of kids are probably unfamiliar with him, so he needs the short history intro.
2) It was his first work with the new production/beats, a huge huge departure from the old music.
3) mc chris had a big year with people in nerdcore criticizing him for "dissing" the scene.
4) It really is a pivotal album for mc chris. He really changes it up from being "nerd rap" to being "a nerd who raps".

Also, I don't dislike frontalot, but I just don't dig the gimmick. I've never been a fan of any artist who needs to dress up for shows (even Nobunny just wears a mask....and little else). It doesn't make him bad, but it's just not my thing. Like I said mc chris is less Nerdcore and more a nerd who raps.
-Dante

IanIsSuperRad (January 14, 2009)

I really enjoyed this album. Never Surrender is a jam and a half.

mikexdude (January 13, 2009)

I like Dante's long reviews. They're more thought out and accurate than most shit on this site. Keep it up.

TraumaSponge (January 13, 2009)

NRRD Girl and Falynn are some catchy stuff.

american_666_jesus (January 13, 2009)

"The only good that I can see coming from the Zombie Apocalypse is that Heath Ledger can rise up and reprise his role as the Joker in future Batman flicks...too soon, too soon."

I nearly died laughing the first time I heard that.

freesandwich (January 13, 2009)

inb4 anchors

chrisafi (January 13, 2009)

Dante, why not just publish this in a book.

Haha, good review but you really need to censor yourself to cutdown the length abit.

niveK82 (January 13, 2009)

2008

niveK82 (January 13, 2009)

Also, best nerdcore album of 2009 = MC Frontalot - "Final Boss"

niveK82 (January 13, 2009)

This has nothing on Dungeon Master of Ceremonies.

Dante3000 (January 13, 2009)

Cliff notes plz!
4 of 5 stars.
-Dante

mikexdude (January 13, 2009)

Cliff notes plz!

eazyd2 (January 13, 2009)

is this guy your buddy dante3000? fuckin gay shit bro. needs more cowbell.

blanktapesemptybottles (January 13, 2009)

where's my Doomtree review? mc chris is the shit btw, I got all his shit, which apparently is hard to get now

MN_punkmaster-skaman (January 13, 2009)

One of the best acts I caught at Warped Tour this past year.

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