John Brown- Burbs Life Music

It’s very hard to embarrass Hip Hop culture at this point; even Disco never had so many shameful low points. Hamsters in baggy clothes and sideways hats driving cars, The House Party sequels, a slew of horrid reality shows. Hip hop was destined to be a culture that was exploited; its uniqueness made it the perfect marketing tool, and its complete lack of guilt keeps it going. One of the great slaps in Kool Herc’s face was “The White Rapper Show” put together by MC Serch and spawned John Brown. He was clearly the most talented on the show, and everyone knew it. As the season progressed Brown turned from talent into Frankenstein’s monster, parroting the same three or four expressions while seamlessly blending vanity and stupidity. By season’s end Serch gave the title of “winner” to someone else, anyone else, and hoped his creation would fade away gracefully.

But Brown never will, and his Burbs Life Music  mixtape is only the latest example of this. He is the Jean Claude Van-Damme of the culture. He cranks out mixtape after mixtape, riding trends and trying to fit in while yelling his trademark “King of the Burbs” “Hallelujah Holla Back” expressions.   The mixtapes are so awful they become charming, the perfect musical equivalent of a ridiculous Van-Damme jump kick that culminates in a dispassionate sex scene. You know it’s terrible, but you watch it anyway. If you tell your friends they laugh at you. You like that? You don’t care, the badness is too good.

If you don’t believe me listen to “Oh Yeah”. It’s almost certain that you’ll hate the annoying “throw up your hands” chorus, and you’ll wonder what movie John Brown was watching when he made this beat-for-beginners. But, by the end you’ll be bobbing your head.

He raps like he is running through sand. He now sings poorly, and plays with his vocal tracks, doubling, stretching them, and using autotune.  In every verse, you can hear his brain panting breathlessly and gasping for the next word. “Burb Call” is a special kind of annoying that you need to experience. The word “Burbs” is repeated so often, that my wife will threaten me if I put it on in the car. On the song, he not only brags about having a high credit score but claims “King Brown got the crown and the belt.” It’s this kind of marvelously cheesy bragging that defines him. He not only wants to be king the way Fat Joe, Jadakiss, Jay-Z, Nas, etc, etc do, but he wants a belt as well. He wants to sit on a throne with a crown and a belt while never actually selling albums.

That being said I could listen to “Life’s a Vacation” in an infinite loop. He brags about smoking weed and eating lobster, the utter eloquence of his life, while the beat squeaks and plinks behind him. Its four minutes and fifteen seconds of vintage Mr. Perfect pro-wrestling heel interview. My name is JOHN BROWN and I AM THE KING AND THE CHAMP and I SMOKE WEED, EAT LOBSTER, and BANG WOMEN. As the audience we boo loudly while secretly laughing.

The guests are all bad R&B singers brought in to sing the hook. The tape is twelve tracks long, and something I have to listen to in private while I dance terribly. If John Brown ever Googles himself and finds this, I have no fear about his angry retribution. Why would he? I’m going to listen to everything he does. I started the John Brown experience, and I can’t give it up. “I’m Alive” has a chorus that goes “I’M ALIIIIVVVVEEE AND I DON’T PLAN ON STOPPING.” Who else would write that without saying…wait…of course I don’t plan on stopping, that’s dumb.  

Thank you MC Serch, for giving John Brown a chance. Thank you John Brown, for doing something that my MP3 Player classifies as “Burbology”. That is a musical genre with only one person in it. If you’ve never heard him, download Burbs Life Music. You’ll hate it, the first 5 times. After that you’re already stuck in a relationship.

-Dan O

You Can Download John Brown’s Burbs Life Music LP from the link below.


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