Music

PPT: Denglish

This Texas trio dons faux-English accents for a fun hip-hop album sure to please old school and underground fans.


PPT

Denglish

Label: Idol
US Release Date: 2008-4-15
UK Release Date: Available as import
Amazon
iTunes

Hip-hop, save a few artists here and there, has always taken itself too seriously. But it's not any one person's fault. All of the involved parties, from the fans to the rappers, are equally to blame. For example, groups like Jurassic 5 are dismissed as catering to white audiences for their fun-loving, non-threatening ways. Even hip-hop pioneer Biz Markie is pigeonholed by fans today for having that song people dance to at their weddings; "Just a Friend", if you weren't sure.

Enter PPT, a trio of Texans looking to make hip-hop fun and interesting again. And if Denglish, the group's second Idol release, is any indication, they are succeeding. All three members – Picnic, Pikahsso, and MC Tahiti – share the mic and don faux-English accents for this concept album that seems to tell the story of Brits falling in love in Dallas. Or maybe it's about falling in love with the city itself, which doesn't seem too far off since the album title is an amalgam of Dallas and English.

Much of PPT's music could be filed under hip-hop, although it's anything but traditional boom-bap. The conventional aspects are there, such as the drums and loop-driven melodies. But PPT infuses funk ("Jubilee ('til the sunlight)"), soul ("Who's That Girl") and nearly everything else under the sun ("Save It for Another Day") into Denglish. Don't count them out as another Gnarls Barkley imitator, though, because that would be both lazy and inaccurate. Lazy because genre-bending artists are always being lumped together even though there are few similarities. And inaccurate because even though Denglish is enjoyable, it's nowhere near St. Elsewhere or The Odd Couple.

Perhaps a more apt comparison would be earlier De La Soul. You know, when they were flower-shirt wearing bohos rapping about magic numbers and filling their albums with goofy, borderline cheesy, skits. But PPT rarely hits the level of 3 Feet High and Rising. But where Gnarls and De La succeeded in their eclecticism, PPT falls a bit short. Standouts like the infectious "Masterbook Theater" approach De La's knack for amusing, and ultimately topnotch, music. But it's a fleeting notion. Unfortunately for PPT, the weaker tracks on here lessen the album's cohesive appeal. Those lacking songs make it difficult to sit through the album's 67 minutes without skipping around.

As much as you have to give credit for PPT for branching out, their more refined tracks are the focal point of Denglish. Like "Masterbook Theater", "Higher" and "To Me Mum" are two more straightforward hip-hop tracks that show the trio's true potential. "Higher" is one of the album's best with its catchy hook and excellent production while the moving "To Me Mum" still bangs in its sincerity. That being written, there are some stellar experimental tracks. The pseudo-trip-hop "Jubilee ('til the sunlight") is mesmerizing and "Drive 2 Rochester Park" is a smooth instrumental, and both demand your attention.

The true magic of this album is in its ability to make the listener feel good. The jazzy grooves, witty lyrics, and funky beats might not propel PPT to the top of the charts, but those qualities more than warrant a listen. The concept of having fun is alive and well on Denglish. And here's hoping it doesn't go unnoticed.

6

So far J. J. Abrams and Rian Johnson resemble children at play, remaking the films they fell in love with. As an audience, however, we desire a fuller experience.

As recently as the lackluster episodes I-III of the Star Wars saga, the embossed gold logo followed by scrolling prologue text was cause for excitement. In the approach to the release of any of the then new prequel installments, the Twentieth Century Fox fanfare, followed by the Lucas Film logo, teased one's impulsive excitement at a glimpse into the next installment's narrative. Then sat in the movie theatre on the anticipated day of release, the sight and sound of the Twentieth Century Fox fanfare signalled the end of fevered anticipation. Whatever happened to those times? For some of us, is it a product of youth in which age now denies us the ability to lose ourselves within such adolescent pleasure? There's no answer to this question -- only the realisation that this sensation is missing and it has been since the summer of 2005. Star Wars is now a movie to tick off your to-watch list, no longer a spark in the dreary reality of the everyday. The magic has disappeared… Star Wars is spiritually dead.

Keep reading... Show less
6

This has been a remarkable year for shoegaze. If it were only for the re-raising of two central pillars of the initial scene it would still have been enough, but that wasn't even the half of it.

It hardly needs to be said that the last 12 months haven't been everyone's favorite, but it does deserve to be noted that 2017 has been a remarkable year for shoegaze. If it were only for the re-raising of two central pillars of the initial scene it would still have been enough, but that wasn't even the half of it. Other longtime dreamers either reappeared or kept up their recent hot streaks, and a number of relative newcomers established their place in what has become one of the more robust rock subgenre subcultures out there.

Keep reading... Show less
Theatre

​'The Ferryman': Ephemeral Ideas, Eternal Tragedies

The current cast of The Ferryman in London's West End. Photo by Johan Persson. (Courtesy of The Corner Shop)

Staggeringly multi-layered, dangerously fast-paced and rich in characterizations, dialogue and context, Jez Butterworth's new hit about a family during the time of Ireland's the Troubles leaves the audience breathless, sweaty and tearful, in a nightmarish, dry-heaving haze.

"Vanishing. It's a powerful word, that"

Northern Ireland, Rural Derry, 1981, nighttime. The local ringleader of the Irish Republican Army gun-toting comrades ambushes a priest and tells him that the body of one Seamus Carney has been recovered. It is said that the man had spent a full ten years rotting in a bog. The IRA gunslinger, Muldoon, orders the priest to arrange for the Carney family not to utter a word of what had happened to the wretched man.

Keep reading... Show less
10

Aaron Sorkin's real-life twister about Molly Bloom, an Olympic skier turned high-stakes poker wrangler, is scorchingly fun but never takes its heroine as seriously as the men.

Chances are, we will never see a heartwarming Aaron Sorkin movie about somebody with a learning disability or severe handicap they had to overcome. This is for the best. The most caffeinated major American screenwriter, Sorkin only seems to find his voice when inhabiting a frantically energetic persona whose thoughts outrun their ability to verbalize and emote them. The start of his latest movie, Molly's Game, is so resolutely Sorkin-esque that it's almost a self-parody. Only this time, like most of his better work, it's based on a true story.

Keep reading... Show less
7

There's something characteristically English about the Royal Society, whereby strangers gather under the aegis of some shared interest to read, study, and form friendships and in which they are implicitly agreed to exist insulated and apart from political differences.

There is an amusing detail in The Curious World of Samuel Pepys and John Evelyn that is emblematic of the kind of intellectual passions that animated the educated elite of late 17th-century England. We learn that Henry Oldenburg, the first secretary of the Royal Society, had for many years carried on a bitter dispute with Robert Hooke, one of the great polymaths of the era whose name still appears to students of physics and biology. Was the root of their quarrel a personality clash, was it over money or property, over love, ego, values? Something simple and recognizable? The precise source of their conflict was none of the above exactly but is nevertheless revealing of a specific early modern English context: They were in dispute, Margaret Willes writes, "over the development of the balance-spring regulator watch mechanism."

Keep reading... Show less
8
Pop Ten
Mixed Media
PM Picks

© 1999-2017 Popmatters.com. All rights reserved.
Popmatters is wholly independently owned and operated.

rating-image