Sunday, March 19, 2006

Straight Out Of Canton (2004) – The Notorious M.S.G.

With the opening, “Yeah, east side Chinatown, bitch! / You gonna die. . . .,” The Notorious M.S.G. throw down the gauntlet, daring you to venture into their ‘hood. Armed with chopsocky bravado, M.S.G. drag the listener through alleyways and slums to reveal the seedy Mahjong parlor at the back of the restaurant that is their world. Employing caricaturishly thick—yet credibly authentic—Chinese accents, M.S.G. celebrate their culture by parlaying it into a shtick that actually empowers them—a sort of pre-emptive slag off, if you will: we’re making you laugh with us, not at us. Instead of degrading themselves into objects of ridicule, they turn stereotypes, particularly involving food, into rallying cries or exploit puns and double entendres: “Wanna beef with us? / Get WOKKED! That’s right!”; “I like the ladies with the big wontons!” Sharply produced backing tracks, replete with liberal doses of scratching, spotlight the engaging swagger of Hong Kong Fever, the mosquito-like darts of Down-Lo Mein, and the incoherent mumblings of Funky Buddha. Rather than being a source of opprobrium, M.S.G.’s spicy brand of gangsta mirth instills a perverse sense of ethnic pride by having fun with notorious stereotypes.

[Despite reports that Funky Buddha was slain outside a Chinese restaurant while making a take-out delivery, there is some debate about whether that is a hoax. A clue that the “murder” is a hoax lies in the interview in a restaurant kitchen that M.S.G. gave regarding Funky Buddha’s demise. Hong Kong Fever never breaks character, even vowing “it’s time for revenge, you mutha bitch!” You decide whether they seem as if they are in mourning.]

  • Listen to "Straight Out Of Canton" and purchase from iTunes Music Store.
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