August 28, 2018

Reader Review: MC Face - Not The Green Tom Show (June 20, 1998)

(For today’s Reader Review, we’re going the less serious route, as Mathieu Frasier submitted his thoughts for the rather rare album from MC Face, Not The Tom Green Show. For the purposes of this lone project, MC Face was the alter-ego of Canadian comedian and former MTV talk show host Tom Green, which is a weird creative choice, as he has other albums under his own name. Anyway. Leave your thoughts for Mathieu below.)

Tom Green's status as a hip hop head is widely documented. Way back in the early 1990s, Green was a founding member of the rap group Organized Rhyme, whose first single, "Check the O.R.", became a huge hit in his home country. In 2005, Green even recorded an album with Mike Simpson from the Dust Brothers titled Prepare For Impact.

But it's not his music that made him famous: Tom Green’s claim to fame was starring in his very own talk show, The Tom Green Show. Originating on public access television and eventually making its way to Canada’s The Comedy Network and then, later, MTV, The Tom Green Show was as stupid and obnoxious as it was fascinating and innovative. Green's unique style and man-on-the-street pranks would quickly be adopted by the likes of Jackass, The Eric Andre Show (a personal fave), and, much to Tom's dismay, the infamously offensive and exploitative internet/film series Bumfights. Today, Green is most notorious for directing and starring in one of the most despised and critically panned films of all time, Freddy Got Fingered, in which his character swings a newborn baby around in circles by the umbilical cord. So, that's the maturity level we're dealing with here. (No bullshit, I saw that movie in a theater for some reason, and while I sat there I kept questioning whether its alleged “jokes” were even supposed to be “funny”. It may be one of, if not the first, anti-comedy, which I can sort-of appreciate in a way.)

Green's career is loaded with interesting stories and tidbits, including a short-lived marriage to actress Drew Barrymore that at least got him a cameo in the Charlie’s Angels film reboot. Buried beneath all that is a little known, low budget hip hop album recorded in his basement in 1998 known as Not the Green Tom Show. Released just before he hit MTV, it features Green production on every track while he adopts a rapper alter-ego known as MC Face, who, for the purposes of this project, has some sort of beef with Tom Green and his friends.

As a Canadian myself, I was fascinated with this forgotten relic of Canadian hip hop history. Could this be a lost gem locked away in the vault of time, waiting to be reintroduced to the world at large? A work of art masterfully crafted by Canada's second most famous hip hop artist, right after Drake?

Read on and find out for yourselves.

A little bit funny, but very much meta. Tom Green starts the record by trying to give a boring, standard introduction to the project, only for its star, MC Face, who is very clearly not Tom Green, to interrupt him and call him out for not getting straight to the music. You know what, Face? I feel you.

The first taste of both MC Face's mic skills and Tom Green's production style. It is quite the dated approach: between its basic lyrical skill present and the choppy, lo-fi beat, “Not the Green Tom Show” sounds like a song that, even in 1998, should have been releases eight years prior. There's definitely a charm to it, though. MC Face spends the song dissing his producer (again, himself) by making fun of Green's co-host Glenn Humplik, his Canadian top charting single "Check the O.R.", and calling his beat fucking wack.

Mildly funny, and mildly funky. MC Face spits some bars about how his girlfriend fell asleep in his car and died from carbon monoxide poisoning. What do you do in that situation? Do you call the cops? Do you bury your dead girlfriend in the woods and pretend it never happened? You could probably learn something from MC Face’s experience. It’s a pretty great concept, actually. (That sounds dark, right?) The beat is a bit more minimalist, and the hook is also pretty catchy.

No matter how much I try, I just can't bring myself to care about what MC Face is really saying on this one. It's got a funky beat, but that's the only semi-redeemable part of this track. It isn’t terrible, it's just boring.

A skit. Tom Green invites his co-host Glenn Humplik to hang out in his basement studio, where MC Face proceeds to call them both wack. Face then implies Humplik is a known drug addict, which the guest denies, but Green winds up agreeing with Face about Humplik's junky escapades. It's stupid, but it's funny. I've heard way worse skits from much better rappers.

Tom Gree… sorry, MC Face picks up the theme from the preceding skit with “Humplik Is The Baddest”, which is simultaneously about how much of a fucking badass Glenn Humplik is and all of the drugs he does. Face shows off more lyrical skills on this track than he has anywhere else on Not The Green Tom Show thus far, weaving in some funny, endearing lines. Probably Tom's best instrumental so far, too.

This song features an artist named MC Jiffy, who I'm pretty sure is also Tom Green. (Apparently Green has about as many alter egos as MF DOOM.) Although lyrically better than "Big Googely Eyes", it's not very memorable: it’s too bland to even work as good background noise. Pass.

Green and Face argue about shooting somebody, presumably. It's all very vague until Face helpfully explains that he wants to get revenge on these guys for stealing his pet chicken. At least the skits match up very well with the tone of the project.

According to this track, Green's friends and coworkers Derek Harvie and Phil “J-Roo” Giroux are expert bank robbers. According to this song, J-Roo steals from old ladies and Harvie likes hummus on pita bread. According to this song. Not unlike "Humplik is the Baddest", this track is kind of sweet. The lyrics are mildly amusing, and the instrumental is fairly basic, but I appreciate MC Face's sentiment.

About as smooth as a beat can be on a project such as this. It’s a really nice change of pace, and I'd love to see what an emcee that's not named Face could do with it. Damnit, Tom Green, you probably could have sold this to a real rapper, but instead you wasted it on this ridiculous album. To Green's credit, though, his flow isn't so bad on here, and his hook is kind of fly. Easily one of the standouts.

MC Face's love song to hip hop, or so he says. Aside from the odd references to beatboxing and rocking microphones, the track has very little to do with hip hop culture, unless you count how he hooked up with your wife, who has hypothetically left you because of your terrible rap skills, and how his radiator is broken. Just more general randomness.

Tom Green tries to formally introduce his friend Giroux to the audience for some reason, and MC Face interrupts him. It's obnoxious (noticing a trend yet?), but it makes for a nice little segue into the next track.

Another song about one of Tom Green's friends. Digging the beat on here, and it also houses one of Face's best vocal performances. And there aren't many rappers who would make a song about how attractive their platonic male friend is, so it's kind of cool we at least have the one.

Tom Green samples J-Roo's laugh and turns it into a fly beat. Or, he makes something out of it, I guess, while Face busts a few more rhymes about him. Kind of a charming interlude, but combined with the last couple tracks, Face may be pushing it a bit with the J-Roo stuff.

There’s a nice smoky atmosphere to this track, which is a nice change of pace. Face wastes a couple of seconds saying complete gibberish, but then points out that it’s gibberish, so as you can tell, there isn’t much here in the way of lyrics.

Over a very basic instrumental, MC Face rocks some corny battle rhymes. There's a nice little dis to rappers with good lyrics but poor delivery, but that's the only noteworthy thing about this whole track.

Face apologizes to Green for making fun of him throughout the entire album, except it isn’t an apology at all. Hilarity ensues.

Over a very basic beat, MC Face rocks some corny battle rhymes. This one's just like "Rock the Mike Tonight", except a bit slower,  with a less catchy hook, and a brief part of said hook where it was apparently mixed to sound as annoying as possible.

This was just uninspired.

Continuing the previous skit, Face continues to accuse Derek of being both a sex offender and a serial killer. Believe it or not, lyrically there are some interesting ideas on “Sex Offender”, but I feel there wasn’t any real effort put into this one: it’s as though it were obligatory, as Green had already written songs about Phil and Glenn.

Finally, something different: MC Face sounds lively and inspired over a funky, soulful beat. While the lyrics aren’t especially special, this beat is great.

Glenn Humplik gets a rash. That's it. That's the skit. Was this really necessary?

Possibly the only rap song ever written about killing baby seals, and I kind of love it. Or at least I love the first half, anyway. The instrumental is choppy and raw (in a good way), the concept is goofy, and the lyrics do a good job at gangsta rap parody. The second half of “Slaughta Ya Oughta” almost completely ruins it, though. At one point, Green affects a terrible Mickey Mouse voice for about thirty seconds and says... something, I don’t know. Then MC Face has a conversation with Shawn Greenson (who I assume is another one of Green's alter-egos) about castrating a donkey. It's really, really, really pointless, and it's mixed so poorly I can barely hear what anyone is even saying. Which is a bad thing, I guess?

Go back to what I wrote about “Somethin' to Chew On”, then copy and paste it here. The only notable thing about this song is that Face quotes Das EFX.

A funny-enough skit. Face struggles with the fact that he thinks Green's beat for “Just Hit Me” was pretty good, and Green tries to make peace by complimenting his rhyme skills. They almost bond, but it goes embarrassingly south when Tom Green busts out a horrible dis track to MC Face on the spot.

Oh Jesus Christ. This is an eight minute and thirty-seven second acapella of Tom Green just yelling whatever the fuck he can think of into a microphone, otherwise known as torture. MC Face fumbles his words and yells a lot to prove to the listener (but mostly himself) that he doesn't need Green's beats to succeed. Most of what he says and does makes very little sense: he plays his zipper like a turntable, disses Tom Green's friends (who I’m tired of hearing about at this point), and then, roughly seven-and-a-half minutes in, takes off the mask to reveal that he and Green are one and the same, after which Green admits this album sucks, which at least got a laugh out of me. One laugh. It wasn’t funny enough to warrant sitting through this track just to hear it, though.

FINAL THOUGHTS: Tom Green's rap skills are impressive for a guy who's known for sucking cow teats. That's at least something. And while Not The Green Tom Show sounds incredibly dated, there are still some nice beats scattered throughout the album that have held up well. As someone who used to run a blog where I reviewed mixtapes by the most amateur of rappers, it's clear that Green has at least a general understanding of how both rapping and producing work, which is much appreciated, but that alone doesn't make Not The Green Tom Show worth tracking down. There's just not much about this that is noteworthy, as most (but not all) of the jokes fall flat, and the majority of the album sounds pretty basic. Content-wise, it's no better or worse than a lot of these Soundcloud rappers out today, but Green's unique rap style and personality help him standout. Maybe if Not The Green Tom Show was about half as long, I would recommend it at least as a curiosity piece, but taken as is, it's in your best interest not to even try to sit through this.

BUY OR BURN? The few tracks listed below are worth at least one listen, but nothing will be missing from your life if you choose not to hear them.

BEST TRACKS: "Slaughta Yah Oughta"; "My Girlfriend Died"; "J-Roo On The Loose"; "Stupid Dummies"

- Mathieu Frasier

(Confused? Yeah, me too. Let’s talk about it in the comments below.)

1 comment:

  1. Stinky McCheeseAugust 28, 2018

    I kinda wanna give this a chance; when Tom Green gets off topic and in to the whole "look how outrageous I'm being" trip he can wear on the patience but I do like the guy, he has soemthing going for himself, and honestly, I quite like the Operation Rhyme album, quite a bit.

    And (now bear with me for a moment, this might sound silly but I swear I think I have a valid point) Freddy Got Fingered is a really cool movie if you look at as a socio-political statement on narcissm, self importance and movies like Karate Kid. Thinka bout it: Freddy Got Fingered is based around a guy who gets through life based on an insane belief in his own self importance and role as the hero of the story despite evidence to the contrary. Narcissism is a popular topic, look at it through the lens of this movie. Look at Tom Green's character as a young Donald Trump. I'm sure there are other movies that would fit the mold, but Karate Kid came to mind; think of the fight on the beach; Johnny was being a bit of a dick, but he was the one who kept trying to keep the fight from escalating and kept trying to trip Daniel. He didn't actually beat Daniel up until Daniel sucker punched him when he was trying to check on the kid to see if he was okay. I'm sure there are plenty of other movies ostensibly about something important, where under a microscope, they're really about a lead's ego. (Bulworth? Dances With Wolves?) Rewatch Freddy Got Fingered with that in mind, and see it isn't at least a little bit smarter than it's been credited. yeah, Tom Green, sure he could have used a bit more focus at points, and it definitely sounds like that could be an issue with this album, but I like the dude, Organized Rhyme most definitely had its moments, I still wanna give this a chance.