This time last year, arguably one of the greatest works of musical satire was released, but peculiarly it wasn’t acknowledged as being the razor-sharp take-off it so obviously was. For a long time now, it seemed that amidst the commercialisation and corruption of Hip-Hop culture, nobody was putting any real effort into mocking the current state of the genre. That was until the Rapper Tonedeff donned his pop culture garms, slipped into the character of TRAPAZOYD, and made an album called TETRAHEATHEN.
From the intro, to the Chris Rock referencing opening track, and all the way to the outro, this album did a great job of parodying the modern mish-mash of genres we now know as Hip-Hop. Heaving with corny lines, contrived references, and auto-tuned choruses, the end result was a hysterically funny piece of work. Alongside the unmistakeable wit, there were many sharp-sighted observations, such as misspelling words, the constant use of upper-case letters, using a generic Southern accent for certain words, and the hashtag-slash-quote “I Ain’t Gay”.
The song “SPINNIN” typified the bog-standard staccato Trap flow, “HEY SELFIE BITCH” epitomised the banal style of contemporary Rap with the use of clichéd sexist content, and the track “BILLYBURG” included shout-outs to Pitchfork, Stereogum, and even Hannah Horvath (Lena Dunham’s character in Girls) which perfectly communicated the persona of Middle-Class, Hipster-Hop rap fans of today. TETRAHEATHEN as a whole was reminiscent of the amusement felt when listening to extended f@mm’s “Happy Fuck You Songs” mixed with a little of Ras Kass‘ “In A Coogi Sweatsuit”. But despite all this, the mainstream media didn’t acknowledge this album; I guess they didn’t want the masses to know that the music they’d been listening to for more than a decade was in reality hollow drivel.
Not doing his parodying by halves, Tonedeff went so far as to create a Twitter Account, a Facebook Page, Tumblr, Soundcloud, and a Bandcamp micro-site for TRAPAZOYD. On these various sites, you could find funny-as-hell promotional pictures and further in-jokes. There were links to a non-existent site of the album’s Producer (99CENTBEATZ.COM), there was a hilarious screen-grab of an application rejection from DatPiff…
…and there were humorous descriptions such as… “DA ILLEST SHIT EVER HURRD NIKKUH!! DEEZ NIKKUHS AYNT FUKKIN WIT ME YAHURD??? WE SPENT 3 WHOLE DAYZ ON DIS SHIT CAUZE ITS DAT SERIOUS”. The whole experience from the album to the various social media, made for a great in-depth dig at contemporary Hip-Hop culture. In fact I would go so far as to say TETRAHEATHEN along with all the peripheral ephemera was on par with something like Cyderdellic; it was the musical equivalent of The Day Today and Brass Eye.
Despite Tonedeff deftly mocking modern-day Hip-Pop, the album itself was strangely enjoyable rather than being a carbon copy of trashy, dumbed-down, Trap music. It was a satisfying listen for people who didn’t get the joke, and it worked brilliantly if you understood the stance of the album. TETRAHEATHEN didn’t necessarily name names but it did a great job of mocking the entire breed of lame performers that have now taken over the Hip-Hop genre. If that’s your perception of contemporary Hip-Hop, you’ll find this LP a hilarious, side-splitting, comedy album.
Tonedeff for those who don’t know, is a hugely underrated Rapper. He is possibly one of the fastest MC’s out there (listen to the Demon EP for proof) and he has one of the greatest flows in the genre. Because of this skill, “TETRAHEATHEN” was (and still is) a great listen. Ironically, songs like the title track showcased a flow that most “real” Trap Rappers couldn’t match even if they tried, and whether intentional or not, this album was more playable than the sub-genre it so skilfully mocked. If you’re a fan of Tonedeff, if you’re a “hater” of contemporary Hip-Pop, or if you’re someone who simply enjoys mockery and comedy, give it a listen; you won’t be disappointed… you’ll just be disappointed with contemporary music.
It’s A Trap.