Fuck it, if Jibbs can recycle a tired concept, I can recycle a tired story http://www.stylusmagazine.com/reviews/casual/smash-rockwell.htm:[more:]
A few years ago, my musician friends and I realized we hit a plateau in growing our audience. We had tried everything from word of mouth to ads to radio spots, but at the end of the day we were nobodies, and no matter how good the word of mouth and how fancy the ads and how glowing the on-air shout-outs, we couldn't get people to come to our shows. Now, before you ask the inevitable question -- "Were we you any good?" -- my point is that name recognition plays a large role in attraction. You know how Dylan could drop a shit album and he'd still fill seats? Well, Dylan's Dylan, and we wasn't Dylan.
So, we came up with an ingenious solution: Hire a Dylan. As in, set up a show, bill Dylan as the headliner, and conveniently book ourselves as the openers. Well, turned out Dylan was a tad out of our budget. And Jakob, too, didn't return our calls. So, we got the best our modest cash pool could afford: Hieroglyphics emcee Casual. Casual! "Man," we thought. "We're set." A rapper with "underground credibility" (if we couldn't earn dollars, we'd earn respect) would certainly get us some new heads, we envisioned. Granted, Casual's audience would likely have a passing interest in anything any of us were dealing (an eclectic deejay and a prog-funk band; uh, yeah). And our campaign war chest was practically depleted after paying for his presence, so our marketing "machine" was more like two tin cans and a piece of string. And we still hadn't figured out how to target our adverts. So, was it any surprise that about a hundred people showed up? Looking back, sugar, hell nah.
This pathetic lesson makes a curious path back to me in the form of Jibbs Featuring Jibbs, the debut of St. Louis hip-pop rapper Jibbs. The record is an orthodox interpretation of the industry-hit playbook, built on repetition -- his name is mentioned three times on the CD spine alone -- and name-brand recognition courtesy of B-list guest appearances by I-just-won-a-Grammy-and-you-bought-my-ringtone-but-you-still-don't-know-my-name rapper Chamillionaire and second-chair Pussycat Doll Melody Thornton. Jibbs's label in effect buys the best album that a spendthrift label would want to spend on a new teen artist. Which is hardly a new occurrence (like my friends' and my boneheaded attempt to purchase from the local rent-a-rapper), except Jibbs Featuring Jibbs is so blatant in its customer extortion: The album starts with a track produced, written, and . . . well, it's a David Banner track. Although Banner's co-sign was likely intended to give the young'n credibility, it only serves to underscore how mind-numbingly redundant and mediocre Jibbs is when he finally opens his yap. "Smile" runs through rims and "Let's Be Real" whines about women, and it has as much personality as your nan's leaking colostomy bag. The much bally-booed "Chain Hang Low," which incorporates the widely recognized minstrel melody "Zip Coon," is scarcely the lowest point of this album, but it'd a convenient point of criticism.
The industry's moneybags and targeted marketing has actually duped tens of thousands already, but the record remains a dull, flat punctuation to industry excess and a pronounced epilogue to my initial story: at least Dylan started out dope; that's why fans still dig Dylan.
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