Kirb and Chris seduce all the Molly Ringwalds with the truth on Niggaz and White Girlz
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Hip-hop's maze is infinite in size, shape, and perspective, but sometimes MCs get trapped at an impasse and start repeating each other like a gaggle of parrots. During times like that times like now it takes imaginative minds to break through and open new verbal doors. That's what the two-brained Bay Area rhyme machine known as Kirb and Chris does on Niggaz and White Girlz (Rapitalism), a mixtape-turned-CD that launches the sound of new wave thuggin': loops of '80s hits and obscurities coupled with hard and hilarious truths about sex and race in America.
"We liked to go to the new wave clubs and do our thing," Kirby Dominant says when asked about the inspiration behind the concept. "We'd go out during the week and then on Sunday just compose what we went through, whether it was little chicks fuckin' with us, kissin' on us or dudes tryin' to downplay us. We wanted to come through and fuck with taboos and myths and stereotypes. It's not necessarily something we take to heart I'll fuck anything that moves, first of all, I don't care what color it is."
Before they began recording, Kirb and Chris tried out the title Niggaz and White Girlz in social situations to see what kind of reactions it provoked. "A lot of people in our crew were, like, 'Dude, that's fucking ignorant,' " Dominant remembers. "I'd say, 'But if I called it Niggaz and Mexicans, you wouldn't say anything, huh?' "
"Or Niggaz with Niggaz," Chris Sinister adds.
Dominant claims some black-on-both-sides (or in clear jewel boxes and on the outs?) big names were up for cameos until they heard about the subject matter. "I'm not going for these rappers saying they aren't fucking white girls," he says. "I've been on tour, and there ain't no fuckin' black girls in Canada. I'm not believin' it. I've been to those towns!"
The truth is calling the shots on Niggaz and White Girlz, and it's open season on any gender or color that just can't get enough. Dominant and Sinister sprinkle a ton of pop culture references on top of what one of the album's characters calls a "Rick James and Teena Marie love" theme that could have been just a gimmick: Hill Street Blues, the Cosby kids, New Kids on the Block, Vampire's Kiss, I Know What You Did Last Summer, and Malcolm Little are all recruited for dissing or boasting purposes.
But dig beneath, and you'll find track after track that takes postP.M. Dawn new wave rap in unexpected directions. The keyboard stabs of Gary Numan's "Down in the Park," for example, are an ideal sonic setting for Sinister to live up to his last name with a realist tale of the hustling that takes over city rec areas at night. Inspirational and even kind of spine-chilling, "In You" keeps Bono's histrionics on "With or Without You" to a minimum, allowing Sinister and Dominant to spin candidly detailed morality tales with different endings about a greedy promoter and a woman turning tricks to support a habit. "Human" gives Dominant an opportunity to provide the frankly hilarious sequel that LL Cool J never made for "I Need Love." On "Money" the duo get hot but not counterfeit, and DJ Ice Water is at his coldest in revealing what the B-52's "Legal Tender" has been all along a prototypical money-stacking rap track, complete with synths and hand claps.
Some of the more obscure musical sources on Niggaz and White Girlz give Kirb and Chris the chance to lay down tracks on which the new wave sound is wholly submerged. "Change Your Mind" might be the album's hottest cut, with Dominant mocking the "foul quotations and little heart murmurs" of MCs who have a fear of the kind of music made by, say, the Talking Heads. But the most mind-blowing moment is "Doorstep, Girl." There the duo flow over Morrissey specifically, the Smiths' single-mom scenario "This Night Has Opened My Eyes." Sinister, whose mother, Diane, gave him a copy of Franz Kafka's The Metamorphosis when he was young, taps into his own version of Moz's melancholic and literary approach to lyric writing, addressing a girl who "turned my open heart into an abyss."
"Before the album I really got my heart broke," Sinister says when asked about his words. "I think the best thing is that Kirb really told me, 'Man, just talk about what's goin' on.' "
"A lot of times, people in hip-hop, they try to tell their whole life in one song," Dominant says. "I study songs, and I'm, like, 'How come you can't write a song about just waking up in the morning and how the sun looks while your girl's still asleep?' "
Misery and comedy live next door to each other on Niggaz and White Girlz. The many skits that Kirb and Chris create don't just shame all the wack between-song scripts that have stunk up too many recordings since gangsta crashed Prince Paul's party they're better and more perceptive than most sketches by comedians. On "Don't You (Take All My Money)," Ice Water scratches and scribbles over the voice of a woman who says, among other things, "Y'all wasn't playing when you said '80s dance music shit!" According to Dominant, the woman's cameo came from club hopping on the block during a typical 16-hour recording session. "We were at Hyde Street [Studios], and I was, like, 'I need chicks.' "
"Literally, we pulled those girls out of the club and got them in the studio," Sinister adds.
Dominant: "All we did was play the song and put them in the studio and let them talk over it. Whatever we liked, we took."
Sinister: "We could do outtakes of the shit they were sayin'. And that was a beautiful woman too."
A top contender for funniest skit has to be "Fuck You and White Bitches," in which a Goapele-loving young woman gets heated with Dominant because he took a girl named Becky to see Revenge of the Sith. "It got really strange, because I swear to God, when Kirb was doing that skit with her, she really started feelin' it," Sinister says, referring to the skit's actress, the cousin of one of Dominant's ex-girlfriends.
"You know the part when she says, 'I bet she can't ride a dick like I can,' and the white girl goes, 'You wanna bet?,' " Dominant asks. "That was my uncle's idea."
"At first it just ended, but my uncle was, like, 'You should add "You wanna bet?" on that shit,' " he says to general laughter.
Creativity is a family affair in the world of Kirb and Chris. "No one could have made this album but us," Dominant says. "How many hood-ass niggas are you going to find listening to the B-52's and knowing about them who can rap?" *
KIRB AND CHRIS
With C.L.A.W.S., Matthew Africa, Ryan Poulsen, and Special Fun Ambassador Cims
Sat/13, 9 p.m.
155 Fell, SF