Robert Christgau: Dean of American Rock Critics

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Handsome Boy Modeling School

  • So . . . How's Your Girl? [Tommy Boy, 1999] A
  • White People [Atlantic, 2004] B+

Consumer Guide Reviews:

So . . . How's Your Girl? [Tommy Boy, 1999]
This Prince Paul p-jay is more trip- than hip hop. Its irresistibility is atmospheric--a sound that pits industrial textures against quiet piano samples/parts--and its lo-res limitations are established by the fact that its standout track was produced by DJ Shadow. But guest rappers (and singers) greatly augment its musicality, and the bits that aren't simply drop-deadpan funny have the same wiggy couch-potato resourcefulness I associate with the best De La Soul--the sense that these guys know how the deck is stacked and intend to beat the game without leaving their seats. A blow for realism. A blow for positivity. A blow for getting yours without taking it from your brothers. A

White People [Atlantic, 2004]
Not the better class of white people, I'm afraid, although Paul and Dan manage to ground lounge-and-proud Chan Marshall, Julee Cruise, and Jamie Cullen more firmly than usual after feckless rocker Mike Patton gets away from them. Instead, what carries the album is, I swear, the skits--Guido Sarducci and Tim Meadows turn out to be as replayable as Posdnuos and Trugoy. Suitably, the very best of these, Meadows's "Knockers" ("Oh, wait one second, my illegitimate son is here"), climaxes the multipartite tour de force "Rock and Roll (Could Never Hip Hop Like This) Part 2," the sole occasion when the perfectly interesting rock tracks hip hop enough. The hip hop, fortunately, hip hops plenty. B+