Monday, September 19, 2011

Trackmasters: Canibus "Get Retarded"

Aiyyo, nine out of ten of these album covers is garbage.
--Official Stats-- Artist: Canibus
Song: "Get Retarded"
Album: "Can-I-Bus"
Producer: Canibus & Salaam Remi
Release Date: September 8, 1998

Okay so I work here at the Tortoise General offices with a pretty large staff. We bring in a batch of interns every summer to help and one year we had this young intern and he was really sharp and really arrogant. So one day he was giving a presentation to everyone in the company and he mentioned a tattoo that I have on my arm of a keyboard. The nerve of that guy. He said something like, "that keyboard on your arm, let me borrow that." It was ON. What a jerk! So I of course scolded him in front of everyone and then fired him. He tried to give other corporate presentations after that, but he really just flailed around, then he joined the army or something. Screw him.

WELL THAT WAS STUPID. The funny thing is that what you just read is the true story of how Canibus made it big. Just replace a few terms (keyboard with mic and some other things) and it's the true story. IT'S RETARDED.

My friends know that I hate Canibus. I was a fan once, long ago, before his first album dropped (this album), but then "Can-I-Bus" came out and that was when everything changed.

Back in 1998 LL Cool J came out with an awful song called "4,3,2,1" and it featured a lot of big names and Canibus (for some reason). Anyway, from that song a beef was born between the veteran battle rapper, Mr. Cool J, and the rookie rapper Mr. Canibus. It was really big news because not only was Canibus holding his own, some people were saying he was winning (he was). The handful of battle songs by the two MCs were being played constantly on the radio and it was hard not to become a Canibus fan after he dropped Second Round K.O., and very soon after the single for K.O. dropped this full Canibus album came out. Of course I rushed out and bought "Can-I-Bus" expecting greatness, but found just disappointment. Honestly, the album was garbage except for Second Round K.O.(of course) and this song, which holds up even better today.

So I have a lot of problems with Canibus as an MC (A LOT), but I think it boils down to two things (1) he's gimmicky with his 'anger' and his 'smartness' to the point that he doesn't sound natural, and (2) he's not pleasant to listen to thanks to his delivery and flow. He's a clever MC, but I'm definitely not a fan. But I am a fan of this song, in fact this song is great, and I think we should give a lot of credit to Salaam Remi who is a great producer (See Nas's recent Nasty if you need proof). The beat here is amazing and spot on for Canibus in that it balances out his roughness. The 'get retarded' sample is hard and kind of silly, which disarms the track and keeps it from becoming a pot of stewing anger. This beat gives Canibus the opposite format that he had in Second Round K.O. this song is raw and smooth and works for him, K.O. was about as hard as it gets. So anyway, mad respect to everyone involved with the production: it's great. 

Here is the track:

I don't think that anyone would argue that Canibus is clever behind the mic, his rhymes are complex and he has the gift of vocab. However, I mentioned before that he uses his smarts as a gimmick and he's doing that in full force on this track:

I travel to the end of the universe and beyond
Concepts, I arrange from a cellular star sect'
From the galaxy of Andromeda
I puzzle n----s like crop-circles and other unexplained phenomena
It's just not pleasant. Those multi-syllable words that people rarely use just sort of sit there like a rock in the river. They sound retarded. Nobody could flow around them without experiencing some turbulence. But luckily, Canibus used some restraint and kept his raps accessible for the most part and even decided to destroy the track toward the middle with this:

When I bomb n----s, I get retarded probably more than you bargained
I'm talkin about rippin mic off your arm shit, hype shit, blow up a mic shit,
You might get beat the fuck up in broad daylight with a nighstick
To the British, I'm Ghandi
To the Japanese I'm an American pilot flying over Nagasaki
To the AIDS patient I'm your last anti-body
Sitting and waiting for a cure for minor biology

Just a good rap. Nice job! I like this track and I like when LL gets battle rapped. Nice battle! As for your career after this song: awful.

Score: 10/10

One final thing, you might have noticed all the links in this post to the 'end the R word website'. Which I fully support but I also never EVER think about because I don't usually use the R word, so I support it to the extent that it doesn't impact me. But the funny thing is that I saw a billboard on the bus or something for the R-Word campaign and that's what reminded me of this song, which led me to write this review, which led me to use the R word 100% more than usual. So I guess that backfired. 
Oh and one other final, final thought: if I hate Canibus even though he dropped a song this good then how do you think I feel about the fake rappers who've never dropped anything hot? Answer: I despise them. Peace.