Immediate sign of trouble: in the special dedications on the CD jacket, Haystack says he would like to “dedicate this project to my grandparents for their patients”. Yes, that’s his spelling error. Ok, he’s a rapper, not a grammar teacher, but it pretty much sums up the amateur affair that is Car Fulla White Boys. Haystak is apparently the latest young tough with a music connection trying to cash in on hip-hop. The style he seems to be trying for is Dirty South (the album sort of sounds like an attempt on that, at least, and he is from Tennessee), but here’s the catch . . . he’s not just any young tough trying to rap, he’s a big, fat, white young tough trying to rap. Oops, I think Bubba Sparxxx beat you to the punch, dude. Anyway, this young, white and fat angle makes the aforementioned CD jacket an oh-so entertaining part of the Haystak experience. On the front there’s a shot of Haystak making a tough face—or is he cutting a fart?—while reaching towards the camera, sort of threatening to grab you and sit on you if you don’t buy the damn album. Even better, on the back of the CD there’s a shot of Haystak rolling with his homies, who previously appeared in Offspring’s “Pretty Fly For a White Guy” video, and who are currently seeking gainful employment at your local K-Mart. All of this is quite a hoot, and by all means take a gander if there’s any music store out there that actually stocks this disaster. But this is one of those many anonymous releases that will only be heard by the artist’s family and some poor schmuck of a music writer.
And guess who’s that poor schmuck of a music writer? As such, let’s get down to music, or what passes as music in Stak’s world. The production is in the Dirty South vein of hip-hop, minus the dirt. The beats are boring, safe and predictable, while the instrumentals and samples range from “been there, done that (cell phones, police calls)” to downright silly (see below). The funkyness and innovation factor is virtually nil. If only Haystak could overcome the shortcomings of the music, but his talent matches that of his producers. With his Southern drawl and nasal voice he ends up sounding like Outkast and Eminem’s retarded love child. Retarded because not only is his delivery obnoxious, his lyrics are totally uninspired. Bad flow, bad delivery, bad production. It is nothing less than the unholy trinity of hip-hop. Take the title track, “Car Fulla White Boys”. We get the sounds of a revving car engine to open the track (how cute!), while Haystak is at his most nasal and abrasive, delivering lines like “A bunch of dirty white guys, completely insane / Go to war on you like Saddam Hussein” (followed by a cheesy bomb sound effect). Oh, but at least there’s an original theme: Haystack getting busted by the man while smokin’ phat blunts in his pimp ride. This is startling territory that no other rapper has dared to approach. Really. To cap it off there’s the refrain “It’s on for tonight boy / Car fulla white boys” delivered in a voice normally reserved for monster truck rally commercials, which no doubt speaks to Stak’s target audience. Oh, and in case you didn’t notice, he rhymes “boy” and “boys.” It is so very, very wack.
The rest of the album is just as good, and touches on such original themes as bein’ a gangsta (“On Trial”), gettin’ hos (“Brother Like Me”), attempted poignance about street life (“Can’t Tell me Nothing” and “Ride”) and again, cars (“Reckon”). To be fair, Stak does muster up a couple genuine moments. “Wish You Could See Me” is actually a pretty touching narrative about a friend dying in the hospital after getting shot (though they should have 86’d those overtly heart-wrenching strings in the background), while “Love You Like” is a nice little tribute to his grandparents (and it scores goofy-but-good points for the swanky ‘70s porn brass part). It’s not that Haystak doesn’t have a few decent things to say, it’s just that the kid shouldn’t be rapping. He ought to return to school and write some stirring essays about his grandma for the benefit of his fellow students. No doubt he’ll be the star of Remedial English. Is that harsh? Sorry, but this album really tested my “patients”.
// Notes from the Road
"Powerful Chicago soul-singer dips into the '60s and '70s while dabbling in Urdu, Punjabi and Italian.READ the article