Pop culture obsessives writing for the pop culture obsessed.
Pop culture obsessives writing for the pop culture obsessed.

Spank Rock: Yoyoyoyoyo

It's tempting to hear Spank Rock as a product of Baltimore—one of few cities still graced with a genuinely mysterious sense of place—but the sounds on Yoyoyoyoyo work more to evoke the farthest reaches of outer space. Some of it aligns with "Baltimore house," a bawdy, licentious club sound known to describe bouncing body parts in great detail, but Spank Rock is hip-hop first and foremost. It just so happens to be hip-hop built from science-fiction daydreams and tracks that sound like Captain Beefheart with The Slits singing background.


That's the case with "Sweet Talk," a funky romp full of fractured funk guitar and "tap that ass" vocal refrains that shifts, suddenly, into a chugging bit of druggy Velvet Underground drone. It's navigated with great ease by MC Spank Rock and producer Armani XXXchange, but it's strange and bracing, a new hip-hop sound out of nowhere. Few of the tracks on Yoyoyoyoyo sound all that closely related, so surprises abound. Dirty sandpaper beats and cosmic faucet drips combine in "Backyard Betty," while "What It Look Like" pants through spaciously arranged suggestions of strings tested for tightness in a violin repair shop.

The album's air of experimental austerity finds a good foil in devilish basslines and clattering rhythm runs more concerned with party-starting. MC Spank Rock splits the difference with a mix of moody self-searching and bright come-ons like "Behind my Game Boy I got game, girl." He's as serious about having fun as he is about sounding like no one else.

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