Come On, Let's Go.
22Dec/090

The Island of Dr. Carter

There’s an Emmy-winning 2001 episode of the Simpsons titled HOMЯ, which plays out as a parody of Flowers for Algernon (or the film based on it, Charly, the source of the backwards ‘R’.) The basic plot is that Homer, in need of money, signs up to be a guinea pig for a research facility. They discover a crayon jammed in his brain, courtesy of a childhood accident. Removing the crayon makes him super-intelligent, but alienates Homer from his friends. Toward the end, he demands the scientists replace the crayon:

Homer: Please, turn me back into the blissful boob I was.
Scientist: Sorry, we don't play god here.
Homer: Huh? You do nothing but play god! And I think your octo-parrot would agree with me.
Octo-Parrot: Awk! Polly shouldn't be!

Even better, here’s someone's tattoo of the little guy.

What does this have to do with hip-hop? Well, Lil Wayne apparently went to medical school, moved to an abandoned island and became Lil Dr. Moreau. His new album Rebirth reduces, ad absurdum, the whole “rock star” persona he’s been cultivating. It's not a straight hip-hop album like his fantastic Tha Carter III, instead he rap/sings over mediocre guitar riffs, in a variety of rock styles. I’ll admit, some of it is fun. On “American Star,” the opening track, he yells out “BRIDGE!” right before the bridge. His lyrics remain witty and biting, &c &c. It’s the albums closer, “The Price Is Wrong, that brought to mind the Octo-Parrot. The track is a bizarre mashup of hip-hop and angry teenage punk… I think. Take a listen:

I can only assume that someone carefully explained to Lil Wayne what punk rock sounded like and who its fans were, without actually playing any examples for him. Its punk-by-numbers, except there’s nothing but a bunch of overlapping blobs to fill in. Polly shouldn’t be.

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