Robert Christgau: Dean of American Rock Critics

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MC Paul Barman

  • It's Very Stimulating [Wordsound EP, 2000] A-
  • Paullelujah! [Coup d'État, 2002] A-
  • Thought Balloon Mushroom Cloud [Househusband, 2009] A-
  • Full Buck Moon Kaboom [Househusband, 2009] ***

Consumer Guide Reviews:

It's Very Stimulating [Wordsound EP, 2000]
His foil-wrapped condom turns out to be Chanukah gelt, his sex objects of choice are male one time, and though he thinks "L.L. Cool J and Canibus are both fantastic," for five rhymes in 18 minutes he owes neither. Primordially whiny, nerdy, merry, and Jewish, his flow bubbles with complex rhymes: "dressed to kill"/"testicle," "pooper hole"/"Super Bowl," "hunter-gatherer"/"cunter-latherer," let us not forget "explained that/Jane Pratt," and many more! And thanks to Prince Paul, his jokes will be funny next week. A-

Paullelujah! [Coup d'État, 2002]
Great novelty record, I thought, following his high-pitched singsong through rhyme schemes whose lyrics broadsheet skips the dirtiest one: "I want a smelly slice/Of Kelly Price" building to "Cynthia Ozick/Takes off her clothes quick/And likes exposed brick." But Barman's not just a clever twerp with an interest in literature. In fact, he's kind of a nice guy. Listen a little and you'll hear a contemptuous dismissal of Ritalin and the testing-service torture device called the DBQ, a defense of p.c. that invites the world to tzuck his tzadik, and two fond memories of an anarchist bookstore. White hip hop for left-wing wimps--maybe even left-wing wimps like you. A-

Thought Balloon Mushroom Cloud [Househusband, 2009]
On his first album since 2002's Paullelujah!, the whiny-voiced, Brown-educated complex rhymer, who has since sired two children by the appreciative woman who brings home the bacon, is as un-hip-hop as ever. Injecting maturity just to put some hair on his "Rothko"-"Costco" and "power"-"Schopenhauer" rhymes, he advises "Get help," implores "Go sane," and tells the kids to "Get along." Shored up by the respect and occasional beats of ?uestlove, MF Doom, and his old pal Prince Paul, he's sometimes hysterical, sometimes caring, and sometimes both. He's a serious artist who tells his realness-retailing rivals "check yourself--testicular cancer exam" and follows up with a rhyme that's also a double-crostic. A-

Full Buck Moon Kaboom [Househusband, 2009]
Mixtape musings of hip-hop hierophant start effulgent, lose current ("Word Vs. Meaning," "RZAView," "Make No Mistake"). ***