What’s Wrong With Bill
hat’s wrong with Bill?
Don’t you ever get that nagging feeling that Non-Phixion are basically what Insane Clown Posse fans listen to when their voices break? In fact, the entire Psycho-Logical roster have names that make them sound less like rappers than backyard wrestlers: Ill Bill, Necro, Sabac, and (for fuck’s sake) Mr Hyde. People so titled shouldn’t be rhyming, they should be attacking each other with garden strimmers in a suburban backyard for a $2 entrance fee.
They also shouldn’t be rapping when, as with Billy Boy here, they seem to be dead set on “shocking”, but sadly took their definition of “shocking” from the Marilyn Manson Annotated Dictionary (1998 edition). Unbelievably, in 2004 and from someone who doesn’t appear in any of the inlay photos to be wearing black nail varnish, there’s an (absolutely appalling) song from the perspective of the Columbine killers. To make you wonder even more if this album was actually recorded in 1999, Q-Unique turns up on one of the tracks.
The album cover can only have been designed, and approved, by someone who owns die with more than six sides. He rhymes “side of their mouth” with “side of their mouth”, like it’s a commercial. He even stoops as low as to discuss what would happen if extra-terrestrials came to earth on “Alien Workshops”. This isn’t some metaphor as in booty-loosening aliens of funk from the planet Boogie, but actual aliens, as in the grey-headed dudes with big eyes. The entire album is the overblown work of an overweight nerd with delusions of gangstadom. Indeed, if it wasn’t for the fact his old mucker Necro is involved in the pornography trade, it’s highly unlikely that Ill Bill would have ever touched a boob.
What’s right with Bill?
But, yes, the best rap is overblown. When it isn’t, we get rappers pulling Chomsky paperbacks out of their backpack, or just generally being Kuniva. So whilst Ill Bill may be less concerned with the 7-1 precinct than he is with Space Precinct, there’s plenty to enjoy on this album, even if you’ll enjoy certain bits not in the way they were intended.
Whilst it’s his debut solo studio album, he’s wisely used the speed-dial function on his mobile to keep in touch with Non-Phixion’s Necro, who handles the production throughout. A talented, if really exceptional, boardsmith, he imbibes tracks like “Unstoppable”’s mission statement with a danceable funk and sing-a-long hook, or “Death Smiles At Home” with Sega Genesis trills. The “Moshpit Mix” of “Chasing The Dragon” even takes you back to the days when people’s ideas of a rap/rock hybrid was Anthrax. Happier times, I’m sure you’ll agree.
Ill Bill pulls his weight though. Whilst not exactly competing with Oscar Wilde for quotables (“Sicker than (x illness) metaphors really should have been retired circa 97), he has enough conviction in his style to keep you listening throughout the more ridiculous moments, and it’s obvious he works exclusively with Necro because he brings out the best in him, an Alex Winter to his Keanu Reeves if you will.
There’s a lot wrong with Bill, but no more than is wrong, say, watching local schoolchildren fall off of their skateboards. Dumb thrills, nobody really gets hurt, just don’t try and mistake if for art. “Anatomy Of A School Shooting” is still one of the worst songs in history, though.
Reviewed by: Dom Passantino
Reviewed on: 2004-10-01