Album review: 'Thought Balloon Mushroom Cloud,' by MC Paul Barman
"I came to collect props like a property tax/From all you hate-to-laugh novelty acts."
Imagine those words -- and millions more -- being rapped by a dorky-sounding Jewish kid, and you have MC Paul Barman, who continues taking geeky, inventive hip-hop to newer, nerdier heights with "Thought Balloon Mushroom Cloud."
Rocking elegantly dusty beats courtesy of the always-reliable Prince Paul and Memory Man, Barman packs 22 tracks full of his hilarious hallmark: Dennis-Miller-style references in raps about everything from science to a divorce to circumcision and utter nonsense.
And while the subject matter might stray from what you're used to, Barman is no slouch on the mic. Just about any random 16 bars is packed full of enough rhyming couplets to boggle the mind, whether he's discussing legalities over lazy jazz instrumentation ("Sampling Law"), slowing the tempo atop the jittery strings of "Allahu Akbar," sending a kiss-off to a druggie friend ("Drug Casual-T") or just carrying on alongside MF Doom (the Creedence-sampling "Hot Guacamole").
While there's no questioning Barman's skill in the lyrical department, his constant stream-of-conscious verses -- and penchant for jamming in as many words as possible at times -- can get to be a bit much over the course of a full hour.
But in measured doses, he's a hilarious, talented, acquired taste.
Hear samples from "Thought Balloon Mushroom Cloud" at Amazon.co.uk.