Sunday, October 21, 2012

Music Review: Holiday Rap

Holiday Rap
  • Artist: M.C. Miker 'G' & Deejay Sven
  • Album: non-album single
  • Release: 1986
  • Genre: Hip-Hop
  • Label: Rush Records, High Fashion Music
  • Writers: Brian Bennett, Curtis L. Hudson, Bruce Welch Lisa Stevens, Lucien Witteveen, Sven van Veen
  • Producer: Ben Liebrand

Since I'm apparently in the business of discussing non-American songs, let's try another.  This one, "Holiday Rap" has the benefit of having been performed in English, by the Dutch duo MC Miker G & Deejay Sven.  Its rise to fame was quite unlike that of "Gangnam Style", initially at least; after its release in 1986, it rose through the usual channels and hit #1 in multiple countries, including their native Netherlands.  It didn't chart in America, but it did peak at #9 in Canada, so close enough.  So how do I know this song even exists?  Like "Gangnam Style", I was only made aware of this song's existence because of YouTube, but this time around, it was another video doing the dirty work.  "Holiday Rap" was used in a scene from the 1990 Indian film Adhisaya Piravi, and that scene was uploaded to YouTube in 2006, under the title "Little Superstar".  The clip showed a little man (Should I call him a midget or not, I can never tell?  Or is he actually a kid?) dancing to the song as it the tape was being paused and played off and on, so yeah, it was a shoo-in for Internet recognition.  But enough paratext, let's look at the real thing.

As I did before with "Regulate", the lyrics below will be colour-coded by who's on the mic.  Miker G's lines are written in red and Sven's are blue.  Also, because of the song's rarity, the official music video is hard to come by, and what is available is a low-quality rip by some random user.  In fact, the guy who uploaded this copy (assuming it doesn't get taken down) wrote this in the comments: "No words can describe how funny this is .. and the best part is that they are serious."  So, we're dealing with some weapons-grade Narm here.  This oughta be fun.
We celebrate seven weeks Miker G and Sven
We took a holiday with all our friends
It was a time to relax and let your worries behind
Exactly seven weeks or something crossed my mind
Okay, this seems simple enough.  This is a song about desiring a vacation, of the Summer variety or otherwise.  Who can't relate to that.  And what better song to sample than "Holiday" by Madonna?  Wait a minute, they sampled a song only three years old at the time.  It was from a different country, yes, but it's just weird, eh?
It was the sign of the time we never forget
One morning our parents kicked us out of our beds
We told them it was stupid, don't play the fool</
But the answer was short: "You gotta go to school!"
Your heroes, ladies and gentlemen.
G's running up and down and everybody know
Rappin', rockin', poppin' in the street-kid show
"Rappin'"?  "Rockin'"?  "Poppin'"?  You do realise those are separate music genres, right?  You're just throwing words out there, words that taken alone might be used to look cool, but the more you use them, the more you embarrass yourself.  Do I have to bring up the Mike Posner Paradox again?
Miker G rocks the house and you know what I'm saying
Now when he's on the mic there is no delaying
I wish you would delay, so you might actually think about what rhymes you're going to spit.
Hey, check it out, these are the words we say
You scream with us: "We need a holiday!"
After hearing so many filler lines, I could use a holiday myself -- from this song.
We gonna ring-reng-a-dong for a holiday
Miker G and Sven we're here to stay
We gonna ring-reng-a-dong for a holiday
Hey, check out the new style we just play
Now we're at the bridge, alternating between Miker and Sven, and again, stop throwing around words!  You're setting a bad example for Pat Monahan.  (Oh [noun] did I seriously just link to my first review!?)
We are going on a summer holiday
If you want to go yo Sven
We're going to London and New York City
And we take a little piece of Amsterdam
The chorus is sung by both Miker and Sven together, and they give shout-outs to cities, specifically places they want to vacation in.  
In the bar "Rox", what happened to you?
Ain't about rocks
Eh, Navarre rocks
You must understand, with a song this rare, the lyrics haven't been maintained as well as with other songs.  So at times like these they could be saying anything, but no matter what, they're saying nothing worthwhile.  And for the record, the first possibility was the one I found on the lyrics I copied, and the second one I'm thinking was more likely.
Well, this is my partner with the number one jam
Famous in the boogie-box in Amsterdam
He's got ya there.  In a self-fulfilling prophecy, the song did indeed reach #1 on the charts in the Netherlands, France, West Germany, and Switzerland.  Still, you may have lucked out now, but next time don't count your chickens like that.
He's the fastest rapper and his name is Miker G
His rap is stronger than the sucker MC's
Well, let me show you what my man can do
Rappin', rockin', poppin' and the boogaloo, too
But anyway, no more delay
Just listen to the beat-box he will play
The song takes a break here for Miker and Sven to indulge in a little beat-boxing, much of which sounds like record-scratching.  Beat-boxing is a talent few may posess, but take my word for it: they're sounding like idiots right around here.
My name is MC Sven, I'm also DJ
I didn't like the schools, I took another way
Wait a minute, this line is most definitely being given by Miker G, so am I hearing this right?  Did he just call himself Sven?
Yo, like the Miker G so I used my voice
And soon I bought a big Rolls-Royce
There, ya see?  He just referred to his own name in the third person!  Was this verse supposed to go to the other guy, but they forgot about it before recording?  Ladies and gentlemen, they just didn't care.  Also, bragging about fancy cars.  This was not unprecedented; even the Sugarhill Gang did this in "Rapper's Delight", the first hit rap single.  But hearing it come from these dorks is insane.
That's right, my name is Miker G
You liar.
Bite [???] is the thing most rappers do
But I can write my own [noun] too
Whoa, I thought rappers weren't supposed to swear until NWA!
I can understand things most rappers say
'Cause rappin' is my thing and i do it every day
Before Busta Rhymes came along, that wasn't so hard.
I'm the number one rapper, yo, my name is Sven
I can rap more raps than a Superman can
Okay, how many times have these guys dropped their own names by now?  Also, I'm not aware that Superman could rap, let alone with great speed.  I'll have to ask Linkara about that if I ever meet him.
So I'm the guy on your radio
Also rockin' to the rhythm in stere-ereo
That wasn't a typo: Sven really did add extra syllables to the word "stereo", as if to grab your attention.  Now, these guys are from Europe in the 80s, and I don't know how the game is played there and then, but given another place and time, I'd accuse them of being marketing hacks, of being controlled from behind the scenes like bunraku puppetry.
And you don't stop that bodyrock
And you won't stop that bodyrock
Yo, spell my name right, I'm Miker G
M-I-K-E-R and G you see
And now we have that great hip-hop tradition: spelling your own name.  As a trope that was so common during the vintage rap era, this is but one demonstration of how little Miker & Sven are defining their own personalities.
Well, M is for 'microphone' and G 'genius'
Miker G in the house that's serious
Oh, so you were trying to be serious!  I'm glad we got that straightened out in the end.  True, there's no way that I would ever take this song seriously, but I was confused as to whether or not gravitas was your goal!

So that was "Holiday Rap", and to sum up, it's like a Sugarhill Gang song performed by Vanilla Ice, which trust me, isn't as sweet as the idea sounds.  For all their tough talk, Miker and Sven seem out of touch with what the rap game is all about.  But while they might be big-huge phonies, they're never obnoxious about it, which is more than I can say about today's rappers.  "Holiday Rap" is somewhere along the lines of "Ice Ice Baby" in terms of how "so bad it's good" it is, albeit a little more on the joke side, not that they'd ever admit it.  If you can handle one of those songs, you should certainly give the other a try.

Lyrics: 1 holiday out of 5
Music: 3 holidays out of 5
Performance: 1 holiday out of 5
The Call: 1 holiday out of 5 (F)

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