By Adam Lovinus
By Lilledeshan Bose
By Gabriel San Roman
By Rachel Mattice
By Stephanie Zacharek
By Daniel Kohn
By Nate Jackson
By Mike Seeley
Shwayze carries the fruity-drink-soaked banner for ‘douche rap’
Shwayze’s sound differs from typical misogynist ringtone rap. Upon first listen, one might even think he’s got something to say.
Given his chillaxed flow, Jack Johnson-aping vocals and mellow beats produced by homie Cisco Adler, Shwayze seems to be a fella with a purpose, the kind of guy who seeks inner harmony and spiritual peace. Before hearing his lyrics, the uninformed listener would be forgiven for believing the Malibu native/MTV reality star/much-hyped Geffen artist is concerned first and foremost with art.
But he or she would be wrong on all counts. Dude cares about approximately two things: getting stoned and sleeping with obese women. Seriously. His words and stature make it clear he’s at the center of a regional brand of hip-hop we’ll go ahead and call “LA douche rap.”
If his lyrics are to be believed, Shwayze has no overarching principles guiding him, no profound philosophies, not even any hippie mumbo-jumbo to fall back on. He simply wants to louse around town as a low-level degenerate, looking for drugs and pussy. As he explains on “Lazy Days,” off his self-titled debut album, released in August, “We just want to get our kicks for free.”
And what kicks are those?
Like many stoners, he aspires to time travel: “Lighter up/Like it’s 1985 and we high as fuck,” he imparts on “Roamin’.”
What else? “Woke up with a semi-hard dick/In a fat chick/Three this week/?Call that a hat trick,” he tells us on “Polaroid.” Charming!
Though it’s tempting to write him off as an anti-intellectual prick, maybe we shouldn’t be so hard on him. The dude has an elastic, easygoing flow, and it’s possible that behind the bombast is a lonely young man with a gentle heart. After all, on “Corona and Lime,” he says he’s “looking for love,” and that’s something we can all relate to. Right?
Unfortunately, he appears to be looking less for a soul mate than for someone to play mind games with. At least that’s the message on “Buzzin’,” perhaps the most confusing and disingenuous relationship commentary ever put to music:
Got to see the world one girl at a time
But you’re hanging on my sleeve like I care that you’re crying
And I do, I’m just trying to play it cool
I got a rep to protect down at the high school
He’s 23, but whatever. His predatory approach when it comes to women is no doubt influenced by BFF Adler, who appears with him on the vapid MTV reality show (also called Buzzin’) and is known for his well-publicized sexploits with such celebutantes as Paris Hilton and Kimberley Stewart. But although the entitled son of famed producer Lou Adler is certainly douche-y, we won’t focus on these guys’ personal lives here. They’re free to do whatever they want in their spare time, and we don’t have enough space.
But their music represents everything the world hates about Los Angeles, and the possibility that their brand of nihilist slacker rap has become the new face of the city’s hip-hop sound is cause for alarm. Other perpetrators include Shwayze’s tour mate Tyga, a Compton rapper who polluted the airwaves this year with “Coconut Juice,” another tired ode to tropical fruit and booze in the vein of “Corona and Lime.” Other local douche rappers include Mickey Avalon, the Gray Kid and Andre Legacy, who’s responsible for thought-provoking lyrics such as “Parked at the Hard Rock/Got a blowjob, before the car stopped. ” Bros before hos, dude!
It doesn’t have to be this way. As writer Jeff Weiss pointed out in a September cover story for LA Weekly, Los Angeles is crowded with emerging rappers who actually have something to say. For starters, there’s Aftermath artist Bishop Lamont, journeyman MC Blu, New Orleans transplants the Knux and hipster rappers Pacific Division. All have more to talk about than fruity drinks and easy lays, and with any luck, they will become the faces of the Southern California sound before the decade is through.
If not, we’ll be stuck with our man Shwayze, forever pondering such lyrics as: “Walkin’ through Malibu/Not a thing to do/Got to find a fine young little girl to screw . . . over/I never meant to block your sunshine.”
So get the word out. Demand a fresh start next year, as clumsy chauvinist rhymes masquerading as sensitive hip-hop is soooo 2008. To paraphrase Smokey Bear, only you can prevent douche rap.
Shwayze performs with Cisco Adler and Skeet Skeet at the Coach House, 33157 Camino Capistrano, San Juan Capistrano, (949) 496-8930; www.thecoachhouse.com. Mon., 8 p.m. $25.