It’s no secret that I’ve been a monster fan of Bacon Shoe’s live act since first seeing them…I-don’t-know-how-long ago. Between then and now, I’ve seen that act four or five times, downloaded their debut album Ass, and generally tried to get everyone I know to see the Shoe live, which I always thought was their sole purpose for existing – to entertain in a live setting. Now, however, with the release of Back From Stinkton, Bacon Shoe can lay claim to making one of the best local releases in recent memory as well as proving they’ve got more up their greasy sleeves than just a bacon-cooking live show and crackhead hype man.
Bacon Shoe paints a difficult posiiton for the music critic (See Jason Harper’s article Deconstructing ‘Toine from earlier this year). It’s somewhat hard to take a serious listen to a group with lyrics like “I had sex with your Dad’s Rolex,” but take the Shoe seriously we must. They’re making retarded songs and delivering a surreal show, which is a rarity for KC rappers. Hell, Bacon Shoe may be the Ween of rap music: consummate musical satirists…who can’t help talking about their dicks.
Back From Stinktion won’t be to everyone’s tastes. The lyrics are predominantly dirty, sex rhymes in the vein of early Geto Boys and side two of 1980s Too Short LPs. Bacon Shoe adds to that old-schol, curse-filled formula oddball, absurdist, rhyme juxtapositions and nutter stories about things like holding up an Applebee’s with a tampon gun. Are the lyrics juvenile? For sure, but the irony is that a sophistication underlies them, both on paper and in the live act, in that Lethal D and ‘Toine take the dirty, sex rhyme persona to its exponentially infinite extreme. They represent the dirty MC as a kinky-ad-absurdum, STD-having (and loving it) weirdo outcast happily trapped at the maturity level of an anti-social 16-year-old American male – oversexed and overviolent. And this act is performed as much as an homage to those early sex rhymers as it is a satire of them. Bacon Shoe excel at the difficult trick of making fun of that which you truly admire.
What makes me so certain that the Shoe isn’t just a one-off joke act? The music – short and simple. The music on Back From Stinktion is sick. Not sick like Lethal D’s lyrics, but sick like make you wanna turn up the volume to 50, roll down the car windows, slide back in your seat, and let your head bob while you roll through Town Center Plaza. The production on the album is incredibly solid. So much so that I found myself similing at how perfectly it all seemed to enhance yet balance the surreal filthiness that Bacon Shoe so readily touts. Classic turntablism threads through several tracks, as does bass that hits like a sumo wrestler and sprinkles of samples used in classic rap fashion. There are snippets of live recordings supplementing some tracks and overall there exists a real sense of musical “weirdness” throughout that serves as a testament to Bacon Shoe’s professionalism (however insane that sounds when describing a rap crew with a song based on the childhood dirty rhyme: “This is what happens when your ass starts clapping and you think you’re gonna fart but you really start crapping.” (Sadly, not re-recorded for inclusion on this new album.)
You can buy Back From Stinktion at CD Baby or iTunes and probably Streetside in Westport. I imagine we can expect plenty of live shows from Bacon Shoe in 2008.