by Miles Raymer
It was a good year for subversion in 2009, mostly thanks to Lady Gaga and her ability to smuggle Damien Hirst and Leigh Bowery into middle American living rooms disguised by ditzy pop. But there were smaller accomplishments as well—for instance, the guys behind what was probably the second most popular novelty rap song of the year (after "I'm on a Boat") turn out to be semi-secret geniuses. "Combination Pizza Hut and Taco Bell" earned Das Racist unfair comparisons to LMFAO and got them pigeonholed by the mainstream media as a couple of empty-headed idiots, but their rebuttal to Sasha Frere-Jones's New Yorker essay on the state of hip-hop, "Wrapping Up," was one of the better pieces of writing about music that I read last year (even though I didn't agree with every facet of their argument).
The Village Voice has a new essay from the group on what being an Internet meme is like. It touches on the nature of insta-celebrity, how the "illusory space" created by a combination Pizza Hut and Taco Bell relates to the corporate worldview that condones sweatshop labor, and what perks you can expect if you create a popular song. (They include free soup dumplings.) It is good, smart, funny stuff.