On Second Thought
Party Fun Action Committee – Let’s Get Serious






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On his MySpace page, the producer Blockhead, one-half of the Party Fun Action Committee, refers to the group’s 2003 Def Jux debut, Let’s Get Serious, as the best worst-selling album in history. It’d be arrogant, if he was lying. I can count on one hand the amount of people I’ve met who’ve actually listened to it. Those who have inevitably regard Let’s Get Serious as one of the finest comedy albums ever made.

The record documents a day in the life of a two astoundingly tasteless and stupid record executives, Stephen Richardson and Lars Highmael, played by Blockhead and Jeremy Gibson, as they alternately listen to a box of demos, down cups of Chai Tea, play a gong, eat blue corn tortilla chips, and discuss getting a Prince Albert. Totally inane, right? But somehow it works—and, in the process, Highmael and Richardson’s banter satirizes major label rap executives’ dire quest to find something vapid and saleable. And the music? The satire continues—with the duo successfully skewering the sorry state of both major label and underground rap music in 2003.

The album’s first track, “Mental Storm,” attributed to the Mystical Knights of the Vizual Roundtable, takes dead-aim at sci-fi and “conscious” hip-hop acts that continuously boast about their skills while simultaneously inserting meaningless imagery about outer space and extraterrestrials. The true brilliance of the track lies not in its concept, but rather its execution. Blockhead delivers a quintessential underground hip-hop beat and the lyrics of the Mystical Knights cut so close to the bone that if you didn’t know any better, you might not realize that the whole thing was a send-up. Among other brags, the duo declare themselves “mental stock-brokers” and boast how “they light lanterns in caverns on the rings of fucking Saturn.”

Despite declaring that The Mystical Knights had “lyrics for days,” and had them “thinking out their noggin,” Stephen Richardson and Lars Highmael decide to pass on the Mystical Knights, mainly because one of the Knights (the “conscious one”) has a lisp. Which brings them to their next demo, a song entitled “Whatchu’ Know Now,” a dead-on parody of the then-red hot genre of rap/rock.

Performed by the fictional band, Kornhole, “Whatchu’ Know Now,” sees Blockhead and Gibson doing pitch-perfect Fred Durst and Korn imitations, including a hilarious bridge in which the duo sing:
God created rock and God created rap
God created us but you all know that
He sums the Lord and he came down from the sky
In a lightning bolt and the birds would fly
The heavens sang a song and they sang so well
They sang from heaven and they heard it in hell
I know my feelings are deep inside
I wish my father hugged me
I wish my father hugged me
“Be My Lady” takes on the twin scourges of Nelly and Ja Rule. Allegedly penned by Flohammed Ali and Ja Mellow is just a minute long, but in that 60 seconds, Flohamed drops about “15 E.I.’s” and Ja Mellow repeatedly asks in his gruff baritone, if someone “wants to be my baby because every thug needs a lady.” Naturally, the two records executives go wild for Flohammed and Ja Mellow and immediately plot to sign them.

From there, the album takes aim at R. Kelly (“I Shoulda Known”), the spoken-word circuit (“Word Up?”), and The Marksta and Chad—two of the brothers from the Alpha Pi Kappa Fraternity, whose influences include House of Pain, Bob Marley, and The Dave Matthews Band (“Beer”).

But perhaps the highlight of the album is a track entitled “Chapstick” by two rappers, Sweet Pickles and MC Noel Weissman. Aimed squarely at the shoulders of probably the worst rapper in history, MC Paul Barman, Blockhead and Jer replicate Barman’s flow precisely, setting it against a sample heavy Prince Paul-esque beat. Barman hasn’t released an album since the Party Fun Action Committee’s attack on him. I’d like to think that he heard this song and immediately gave up rap. For that Blockhead and Jer need to be awarded some sort of medal.

The album isn’t entirely perfect. A track called “I Am” makes fun of European Depeche Mode-type techno and doesn’t really fit, even though it’s pretty funny in its own right. Meanwhile an acapella track called “Peter Pan,” is just profoundly weird and seems rather disposable, a fact even Richardson and Highmael mention.

But for the most part, Let’s Get Serious is flat-out brilliant. From the ad-libs of each faux-artist to the small jabs at the record executives’ dietary habits and decorating tastes, the album plays out like a hip-hop version of This Is Spinal Tap. And three years after its release, the album seems more prescient than ever, as commercial hip-hop gets increasingly more frivolous and un-listenable.


By: Jeff Weiss
Published on: 2006-10-04
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