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Thursday, Mar 25, 2010
by PopMatters Staff
by Sean Fennessey
The Village Voice (24 March 2010)

“What’s so wrong with being funny? Biz Markie and the Beastie Boys were making joke rap before it became a dirty phrase. Nineties films like Chris Rock and Nelson George’s CB4 and Rusty Cundieff’s Fear of a Black Hat worked in a similar vein: smart but over-the-top parody, deftly written from inside the culture. No one made better satire than De La Soul, one of the most celebrated rap acts ever. Rap is encouraged to be funny: The best stuff is often littered with, ahem, “punch lines,” and the biggest stars—from Slick Rick to Biggie Smalls to Lil Wayne—are championed for inspiring guffaws. And though Glover and Suri are both quick to distance themselves from the Lonely Island, there’s a kinship there: What made the group’s 2009 full-length Incredibad so interesting was not Samberg and Co.‘s lyrics—sort of funny, I guess—but how slavishly accurate the production was. “I’m on a Boat” worked well as T-Pain homage, and “Dick in a Box” as Color Me Badd–style loverman r&b. But there was also the Black Sheep nod on “Punch You in the Jeans” and the West Coast pastiche “Santana DVX” (co-starring E-40). There’s even a remarkable thematic similarity between Das Racist’s “Fake Patois” and Incredibad’s “Ras Trent.” As instrumentals, these songs poked knowingly, operating in ways beyond “Weird Al” Yankovic’s chintzy Casio-and-accordion reproductions of Coolio and T.I. songs.”


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