PPT on the Dime
Relationships are hard, especially if you’re an almost-famous rapper from North Texas. To the guys in PPT – PicnicTyme, Pikhasso, and Tahiti – frustration is an attractive woman who cares either too much or too little about you.
Trés Monos in Love, the group’s forthcoming debut full-length, is essentially a compendium of lovelorn complaints. As with similar records from the rap music canon, there’s only one side of the story – the guys’. Though incredibly dynamic and unabashedly good-natured (and not too profane), Trés Monos might have benefited by just a couple of cheeky verses by a female rapper or singer. Now that I think of it, where are my ladies at?! If rap history has taught us anything, it’s that records aren’t just good for listening to. They’re also good for spreading lies, rumor, and innuendo and retaliating against perceived wrongs.
Remember back in ’84 how U.T.F.O.’s “Roxanne, Roxanne” was answered by Roxanne Shanté’s “Roxanne’s Revenge”? And how Salt-N-Pepa’s “Showstopper” was mocked by Doug E. Fresh in “No Show”? Where’s Trés Severely Unsatisfied Chicas?! Anyway, Trés Monos is superlative, kind of like Outkast’s The Love Below but without any studio musicians. In the same spirit as the chart-topping Atlantan duo, PPT somehow manages to satirize yet glorify traditional rap/R&B tropes. “When We Was Kool,” with its orgasmic falsetto backing vocals and smooove-jazz atmospherics, harks to the mid ’80s, when Keith Sweat, Freddy Jackson, Johnny Gill, Babyface, Al B. Sure and other obviously insatiable stud muffins could be taken seriously as modern-day Marvin Gayes, long before they became parodies of themselves. Handling lead vocals, Tahiti breaks out every trick in the panty-droppin’ book – he growls, he purrs, he squeaks, he takes charge, he relinquishes control. As “When We Was Kool” lurches toward its sweaty, silky, gelatinous end, a point in old-school jams when crooners typically begin asserting their sexual demands in loud, aggressive voices, Tahiti also flexes his, um, musical muscle, but he’s not interested in making love.
He just wants to make fun. “I wanna take a bath witcha, oh, girl!” he yells in a severely masculine baritone. “Let me pop the pimples off your ba-eee-ayyy-ack!” Keith and Freddy, though, aren’t PPT’s only targets. The others – MySpace, the amorphous concept of crunk, even love itself – all come on fast and furious. To further indicate the extent of PPT’s intentional disregard for both rap history and proper decorum, “Jealousy” is a funny, dancy number that finds Tahiti affecting an Al Jolson-ish accent during the chorus, Pikhasso playing the mouth trumpet (it actually does sound a little like a muted horn), and what sounds like a children’s chorus providing backing vocals.
There may not be any other rap group doing anything similar, here or anywhere. PPT has several local performances lined up for September, after the album is officially released. Visit www.myspace.com/pptmusic. … This Saturday at Ridglea Theater (6025 Camp Bowie Blvd.; 817-738-9500) is “Dimefest,” a day-long show of metal, metal, metal, starting at 4 p.m. On the bill are Fort Worthians Scum Scunge, Splinter, and Status Hate, plus Plague, Threat Level, Kaliya, Proofed, Course of Ruin, Driven Below, Premenishen, and headliners Jacknife. Tickets are $15-20 and are available at www.frontgatetickets.com.
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