While comedic rap has been around since the Beastie Boys first fought for our right to party in the mid-'80s, it seems as if we've entered into a kind of golden age of "white-boy" rappers who rap it like they mean it, even if their raps are more Beck than Big Daddy Kane. Enter Jamie Kennedy. Best known for his role in the 1996 horror film Scream, ...
While comedic rap has been around since the Beastie Boys first fought for our right to party in the mid-'80s, it seems as if we've entered into a kind of golden age of "white-boy" rappers who rap it like they mean it, even if their raps are more Beck than Big Daddy Kane. Enter Jamie Kennedy. Best known for his role in the 1996 horror film Scream, Kennedy is an actor and stand-up comic and, as his 2006 pseudo-reality MTV show Blowin' Up would have you believe, a serious rap artist. Along with his musical partner Stu Stone, Kennedy spent most of Blowin' Up doing just about everything except what the show's title implied -- making it big in the rap world. Instead, the duo found themselves in such embarrassingly comedic situations as attempting to surreptitiously give rap icon-turned-actor Ice-T their demo tape while Kennedy filmed a role on Law and Order: SVU as well as meeting with Joe Simpson -- father/manager of Jessica and Ashlee -- where Kennedy played him a song about how he really likes his ex-girlfriend's left breast. Okay, so Kennedy is a not-so-serious rapper, but he does seem to take the music seriously, as is evidenced by such guest artists on Blowin' Up as Canadian rapper Kardinal Offishall, E-40, and the deliciously respectable Paul Wall who helps out with what is perhaps the album's best moment, the commercial jingle for the mattress superstore "Mattress Mack." Notably, in this episode, Kennedy and Stone have to shoot the commercial wearing mattress costumes. It's not only a funny cut, but a funky one that makes the most of Wall's "sizzeruppy" Southern-style rap. Elsewhere, Kennedy and Stone showcase their knack for picking out specific details that add a sense of truth to their jokes as on the send-up of '80s style "1984" which features such cringe-inducing lines as, "1984 lying in the grass first time I ever got some ass. Pop Rock in my mouth, wanna go down south, but the Whopper in my stomach really gave me gas" and, "Listen crazy muthaf*cker, let's skip class. I got a fresh pack of Hubba Bubba Berry Blast. I got money to kill and ass to burn, Drakkar Noir and a salon perm." What's so great about the track is that while the lines are funny, Kennedy and Stone play it straight, which only serves to make the joke funnier. In that sense, Blowin' Up is similar to "Lazy Sunday" and the other SNL raps perpetrated by Chris Parnell and Andy Samberg. Admittedly, while still humorous, some of the tracks here are a little too easy and juvenile, as on "Crooked Stick" in which Kennedy expounds upon his deformed appendage. Similarly, "Bologna" featuring Kennedy as the gay rapper "Blane" is, while silly, stupidly offensive. However, tracks like "Rollin' w/Saget" in which milquetoast comedian Bob Saget raps about being a "blunt" smoking badass, and "Knuckle Up" in which Kennedy and Stone call out young-Hollywood hipsters like Ashton Kutcher and Colin Farrell as "bitch-ass waiters" and viciously rap, "I need a coffee make it quick. I don't need to see your headshot, you ain't legit. I don't need to read your screenplay it reads like sh*t" are devastatingly funny and fall just shy of keen social satire. ~ Matt Collar, Rovi