MC Paul Barman | Theater Critic's Choice | Chicago Reader

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MC Paul Barman's giddy 2000 EP, It's Very Stimulating (Wordsound), wasn't exactly a hit with underground MCs--exuberance is about as credible in hip-hop these days as courtesy toward the police. Over jolly beats and cartoonish samples (provided by producer Prince Paul) Barman goofed on his geeky Jewish-intellectual persona, as he spouted "My sex life is pathetic! That's why I fantasize in four out of five songs!" and claimed "My pissed-off jimbrowski / Turned three colors like Krzysztof Kieslowski." On 2002's Paulellujah! (Coup d'Etat), his first full-length, Barman seems less a rapper going for laughs than a comic in hip-hop drag. "Cock Mobster," for instance, is a detailed list of what he'd like to do to the famous women he fancies: "Winona Ryder? / Goin' inside her / I want to get on-na the whole width / Of Anna Nicole Smith / I want Tracy Bingham / In a lacy thingum / I made Tahnee Welch's / Punanni felch / Until her mommy belched." On "Bleeding Brain Grow" he offers a series of rhymes in palindromes, at one point shouting out "Mika, RZA, Evil JD, Nasir is Osiris and J-Live, AZ, Rakim." And in "Old Paul," an eightysomething Barman looks back over his rap career and wonders why he got no respect: "Is it 'cause I went for the laugh? / 'Cause I'm not from the ave? / 'Cause I target the fans / That you wish you didn't have? / Had I made a mockery of a culture, like the Choco Taco? / Was I to rap as France was to Morocco? / Was I colon rap colon colon France colon Morocco?" Thursday, February 27, 10 PM, Empty Bottle, 1035 N. Western; 773-276-3600.

Art accompanying story in printed newspaper (not available in this archive): photo/Glynnis McDaris.

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