Straight Outta Grumpy's

MC/VL hit the sweet spot between rapping with a sense of humor and rapping as a joke

For now, though, it might seem like MC/VL create their bygone hip hop in a cultural vacuum, without the support and critique structures of rap's natural community. But you could also say that MC/VL belong to a different sort of culture, one not only of appropriation, but also of imitation and appreciation. One that includes not only skinny white boys from St. Paul but also doo wop bands, country-western groups, chamber string acts, and many other young, bored artists having fun by trying something—everything—that's been tried before. A karaoke culture, you might call it.

Back at the Hexagon show, one of the more belligerent members of the audience vocalizes a different school of thought. "Look at me, I'm wearing Adidas and playing music!" he shouts. Just in case any of the bystanders fail to pick up on the subtle sarcasm in his slurred speech, he clarifies: "You're too late!"

MC/VL's Mighty Clyde gets all up in this heckler's grill
Darin Back
MC/VL's Mighty Clyde gets all up in this heckler's grill

Mighty Clyde and Vicious Lee shrug the heckler off, and during one song, Clyde leapfrogs off the stage and ends up as far up in the guy's grill as his stocky wrestler's stature will allow. "We rock the party/We rock the party right!" he and VL shout, and you can't help but wonder if this is, at last, ironic rocking. But then you remember that the only thing more annoying than irony in art is the debate over whether it exists, and, further, whether that even matters. So during the next song, when the duo entreats you to "Clap your hands everybody/Everybody just clap your hands," you shut up and just do it.

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