Goldie Lookin Chain
t seems a bit curmudgeonly to be nasty about Goldie Lookin Chain. After all, this record isn’t meant to be taken seriously. Unlike The Darkness, who believe they’re a serious band, GLC are unashamedly a novelty act. It’s supposed to be funny. Which is fine—music doesn’t always have to stir our emotions or stimulate our minds. Sometimes it’s okay for music to aim directly for the funny bone. So if I review this album on its own terms—i.e. “is it funny?”—I can be as nasty as I wanna be.
If you don’t live in Britain, you probably won’t have heard of Goldie Lookin Chain. You almost certainly won’t get any of their jokes either. The joke is this: GLC are a bunch of white Welsh rappers, a posse from the valleys, obsessed with draw (cannabis), old skool hip-hop and early eighties pop culture. The album is awash with references to ZX Spectrums, roller discos, the A-Team, cola cubes and Panini football stickers. It’s very British. Think an even more parochial Ali G. In fact, this record is aimed squarely at people who thought Ali G and Shaggy’s “Me Julie” was the best record they’ve ever heard, aaiii. Them and students. Stoned students. The standout track on here is called “Your Mother’s Got a Penis”. This is The Streets without the poetry or the wit.
Yet, although Greatest Hits is supposed to be a comedy album, it lacks that most crucial ingredient: wit. The satire here is weak and dated. When hip-hop started its world-conquering ascent in the early eighties, every musical comedian in the world recorded a rap, from Mel Brooks to Morris Minor and the Majors, whose “Stutter Rap (No Sleep Till Bedtime’)” aimed at exactly the same targets as GLC—eighteen years ago! Maybe this is because people think rap requires no talent and is the easiest genre to use if you want to be humorous. GLC actually seem to have a deep affection for hip-hop, but they’re just not very good at writing funny rhymes. Eminem is a thousand times funnier than these guys. The battle scene in Scary Movie 3 was funnier than this album, for god’s sake.
The music itself barely merits a mention. The beats are weedy and the samples are uninspired. Only one of them, Dwain Xain, can actually rap—the rest of them sound worse than Warren Beatty in Bulworth. To be fair, “Guns Don’t Kill People, Rappers Do”, is catchy and has a great chorus, and “You Knows I Love You” is a fairly amusing parody of a slushy rap ballad like LL Cool J’s “I Need Love”. But again, the humour is decades out of date. It’s like taking the piss out of beatniks.
I’m sure Greatest Hits is hilarious when you’re off your face at the end of a big night out. It doesn’t work so well when you’re listening to it on the bus on the way to work. And even the people who think it’s funny on the first couple of listens must realise this album is going to have a shorter life than a fruit fly. Put this in a cupboard with a fresh piece of brie, then come back in six months and see which one’s stinkier.
Reviewed by: Mark Edwards
Reviewed on: 2004-09-21