A film about Northwest hip-hop from 2016
Regular Show is The Matrix. The 2011 Don’t Talk To The Cops album introduced two main characters, DJ blesOne and emecks, who activated their radically organic, anti-machine approach to dance music. “Cold Nuts,” for instance, displays a band nimble enough to dodge bullets. On the opening track, blesOne repeats, “When they drop the bomb I want you in my arms,” metaphorically referring to the underground refuge city of Zion. Similar to Neo in The Matrix, the protagonists in “Guess I’m Strange” don’t fit in to stiff, normal society, and yearn for a freer reality. DJ blesOne is fully complemented by his musical partner emecks, just like Neo and Trinity work their formidable best as a team.
Let’s Quit feels like Reloaded, with perhaps even more action and drama than the first iteration. In fact Reloaded opens with Trinity and Neo romantically involved. “Tattoo My Name” from Let’s Quit is a real life documentary of emecks and blesOne declaring their love for each other. The mad, leaning tension in “Laos! Laos! Laos! Laos!” and “Tiptoe Right By Em” is as captivating as any high speed, eighteen-wheeler, tractor-trailer collision ever was. Reloaded may have magic orgasm cake created by the Merovingian, but Let’s Quit has a murderous hamburger leaving a trail of pickles and ketchup in its wake. Even the title Let’s Quit refers back to the first film in which Neo takes the red pill and “quits” the Matrix.
Champions Of Breakfast corresponds to Revolutions because in many ways it is the climax chapter of the story. Neo is carried to the Machine City and filled with electricity, which reboots the Matrix. The impossible-to-verbalize themes of this pivotal scene are captured by the instrumental power chords and b-boy floor-rocking energy in “DJ blesOne’s Theme” and title track “Champions Of Breakfast.” But many Revolutions viewers felt that the franchise lost the edgy vibe established in the first two films, and that’s how I felt about Champions Of Breakfast. “Michael Jordan’s 50” and “That Ain’t What 2048 Mase Do,” both show a band risking everything on a sound that felt like chloroform. In the skit “Bles The Mess,” blesOne plays an invincible medieval hero similar to Neo. “Hast thou ever had an encounter with Bles The Mess? So, are the legends true?” a character asks. By the end of both Revolutions and Champions everything is saved by the Deus Ex Machina. Both Neo and Don’t Talk To The Cops have metamorphosed into something entirely new.
2016’s Forevers reminds me of Resurrections because it is defanged, declawed, and simply not “Dangerous” to quote one of the album’s song titles. We already know the general plot so we can’t be surprised like we were the first couple of times. In addition, the meta scriptwriting approach keeps us in our heads the whole time. Just like Neo and Trinity, emecks and blesOne are older, and more like everyday people than the superheroes we remember. The title track “Forevers” sounds mellow like Art Of Noise cosplaying as Muzak. Here’s the deal, if Bruce Illest heard this tame s*** he would be pissed. Some Forevers tracks that should have sounded unfamiliar or bracing like opener “What You Say What You Want” and “Animal Planet Rock” simply feel safe like we’ve been here before. Forevers feels like coloring inside the lines. At the end of Resurrections, Neo and Trinity fly off together in hopeful expectation, and that’s exactly how I imagine emecks and blesOne ending this exciting and important band. Written by Novocaine132