On Tuesday 29th May, the hardest hitting, most controversial song in hip hop this year was released.
Responding to those who the artist had felt had wronged him, this masterclass in pettiness sent ripples across the community as people questioned if this wordsmith had gone too far. Social media buckled under the pressure as the song went viral, with the victims of the rant treated with some sympathy but mostly amused contempt. Mission accomplished by the man who fired an emphatic shot in a lyrical war.
Also Enzo Amore did something he called music, but I’m still not sure.
Phoenix is a mumble-rap monstrosity and it’s all Enzo’s fault. (or should that be Eric now?) Mumble rap is a pseudo-repetitive sub-genre where the melody and rhythm lies with the lyrics rather than the backing track. The beat, unimaginative as it is, could be salvaged by the rapper performing as the genre demands: laid-back and melodic at best, matter of fact and repetitive at worst. Real1 and his very real anger distorts this. He yips, barks and growls his way through this song like a Tesco Value DMX with none of the skill for flow, rhythm, melody and lyricism.
Oh, the lyricism.
He starts the song off reusing “Sloppy Jalopy”. He quotes Ricky Bobby. He calls wrestling fans “marks”. He claims haters would even bother with his funeral. He calls his penis consensual. And all of this is before the verse dedicated to the woman who accused him of rape (“Gucci Witch, you dirty bitch!”) culminating in a favourable comparison of him and Bill Cosby.
Ignoring the rest (revealing that his live radio freestyle was actually first draft of the rest of this song), let’s focus on the positives. The accompanying music video is very well made, no matter how personally attacked I felt after seeing the first 30 seconds. And we can’t fault his passion; Eric (I’ve decided to stick with his real name) seems to believe everything he says.
And that’s a problem.
The Pusha T track referred to at the beginning of this article (and every other track like it) works because it targets an equal or superior: someone who has a platform to fire back. Enzo’s accuser lacks this and that’s what makes me uneasy. Two month social media silence aside, cleared of all charges or not, the song’s lyrical content is like… one of his matches without a Big Cass tag-in. Brutal, painful and difficult to stomach.
To conclude, the song’s concept was questionable, right down to Eric’s new rap name (Real1 sounds like a conscious rapper hanging out with Common, not a cocaine loving Insta-manwhore). The execution was way worse than anyone could expected, considering his self-performed theme song was… passable. And the quality of the video is an indictment of the kind of man Eric Arndt is: no amount of kip-ups, jump shots or badly sold clotheslines can mask how garbage this song is.
Ah well. Hip Hop, Enzo is your problem now.