Robert Christgau: Dean of American Rock Critics

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Biz Markie

  • Goin' Off [Cold Chillin', 1988] B
  • I Need a Haircut [Cold Chillin', 1991] ***
  • All Samples Cleared [Cold Chillin'/Warner Bros., 1993] A-
  • Weekend Warrior [Tommy Boy, 2003] Choice Cuts

Consumer Guide Reviews:

Goin' Off [Cold Chillin', 1988]
Except for the timeless "Pickin' Boogers," not one of the class clown's hits has the life of "This Is Something for the Radio," which sounds like it was tossed off late one night on ludes: "We just talkin' over this beat, I don't know what the hell we're doin' . . ." If you love "Vapors" and all those songs with Biz's name in the title but not the credits, figure I'm nitpicking. If come to think of it you don't, wonder yet again how long a street genre can survive high-intensity commodification. B

I Need a Haircut [Cold Chillin', 1991]
Everyrapper as Everynerd--his manageable tribulations, his modest progress, his magniloquent doody jokes ("T.S.R. [Toilet Stool Rap]," "Busy Doin' Nothing") ***

All Samples Cleared [Cold Chillin'/Warner Bros., 1993]
Singin' in the rain 'cause he got the audacity, Biz returns from legal limbo to mumble, spritz, fart around, cop a hit from McFadden & Whitehead, ride four different versions of "Get Out My Life Woman," and rhyme "audacity" with "Butch Cassidy." From "Family Tree," which builds off 20 first names, to "The Gator," which cuts to the beat in the interests of asthma prevention, he never tries harder than is absolutely necessary, and seldom comes up less than beguiling and hilarious. Masterstrokes: the positive "I'm a Ugly Nigger (So What)," in the great tradition of Huckleberry Finn, and "I'm Singin'," in which he does for Gene Kelly what he tried to do for Gilbert O'Sullivan--and nobody is thin-skinned enough to stop him. A-

Weekend Warrior [Tommy Boy, 2003]
"Tear Shit Up" Choice Cuts

See Also