MC Wildcat – Easy Bacon (2006)

a review by Edward J. Sneed

Easy Bacon

MC Wildcat is really proving himself to be quite the glutton for punishment. Seriously, folks—to subject oneself to not only my harsh criticisms year after year, but similar criticisms of virtually every hip-hop critic his “work” touches, only to return again every single year for yet another heavy dose of typographical abuse—it stands to reason that anyone this readily willing to accept punishment must genuinely enjoy it, and have some serious sadomasochistic tendencies.

Every summer I completely belittle Wildcat’s skewed vision, lacerate his lack of creative sensibilities, and generally shit all over his music and everything he stands for. One would expect such a hopeless case of an artist to grow tired of this vicious song-and-dance, but Wildcat is proving himself to be oddly prolific, despite his limited abilities.

He just keeps coming back for more like a zombie refusing to die, but for all his stubbornness, virtually no changes are ever made to his game—despite the glaring holes I point out each year, and the countless constructive criticisms I offer.

Considering how persistent the Mad Catter seems to be, as evidenced by both his relentless “work” ethic and outright refusal to modify his rap style whatsoever, I realize now that I’m simply dealing with a different kind of creature—one who defies categorization, and whose approach to rap music is completely unprecedented.

Therefore, I must concede that perhaps some of my past criticisms of WC were a tad unfair. I feel this way because, up until now, I’ve always compared him to my golden standard of rap, when in fact perhaps this was not the fairest way to critique an artist as Wild as Cat.

So beginning with today’s review of his latest album Easy Bacon, I will no longer be comparing Wildcat to my idea of rap as I know it, as it has been made painfully clear that he has absolutely no desire, and perhaps no alternative than to be anything but his terminally flawed self, in all his shamelessly glory.

Whatever fate holds for this off-colour, 23 year old lyrical enigma, Cat will undoubtedly fail or succeed in the rap game on his own terms, and he doesn’t strike me as the type who would have it any other way, either. I realize all this now, and though it seems glaringly obvious in hindsight, the fact is it has taken me seven years of listening to Cat-raps to reach this understanding. I now appreciate that this wayward young man will just simply never compromise his dysfunctional vision in the slightest—even if that means releasing 20 more albums for his Dundas homeboys, and wallowing in obscurity until he retires.

So from now on, whenever I am burdened with the laborious obligation of reviewing an MC Wildcat album, I will henceforth be rating him on his own scale—meaning, I will not be comparing his “work” to that of contemporary rappers, but rather to my standard of what I believe is Wildcat’s ultimate potential.

Limited though it may be, I feel this new Cat Potential Scale will help me more accurately assess Wildcat’s fountain of musical perversity.

And it just so happens that within this new context, ladies and gentleman, I kid you not—Wildcat’s seventh album Easy Bacon is a flat-out masterpiece.

Though Bacon continues to reveal a portrait of a young urban male as terminally flawed and confused as ever, this time around it somehow feels like Wildcat is actually winning.

Bacon starts off fast and aggressive with four straight powerhouse bangers; “Bustin’ Out,” “Wild In the Streets,” “They’re Just Jealous” and “In the Jungle.” Though each tune stands out in its own right “In the Jungle” is undoubtedly the most memorable, if only because it features the famous sample from The Tokens’ smash hit, “The Lion Sleeps Tonight.”

However Young W’s variation puts a much more literal spin on the 60s classic, using it as a platform to explore, well, I’ll try to say this as diplomatically as possible— Cat’s version explores fornicating with women whom resemble various members of the animal kingdom. To wit:

“Caught myself a desperate, wounded cougar
said she wanted cubs and wasn’t neutered
refused to screw her, don’t want juniors
set her ass free, and fished for tuna
bought a can of worms at the Bait-N-Tackle; 
eventually reeled in a Spanish mackerel
she’s slimy and bony, but I’m grimy and lonely
just let me comb your whiskers, like My Little Pony...”

Crude though “In the Jungle” may be, for once Cat’s crudeness is overshadowed by the sheer cleverness of how well he handles his offensive subject matter, and how vividly he paints this portrait of his sexual safari.

Though I am certain Cat’s feminist detractors will have a field day with “In the Jungle,” being quick to interpret it as misogynistic, I actually don’t believe that was its author’s intent. Were “Jungle” my first Cat-rap experience I would probably be inclined to agree, but this complicated beast and I have danced too many dances for me to jump to the most obvious conclusions about him.

For in fact, I believe the self-professed “Dundas Ryda 4 Life” is the unfortunate possessor of a sense of humour so sick and twisted and blind to the sensitivities of the general public, that he simply wrote “In the Jungle” because he felt it would make for a funny, entertaining concept to be enjoyed by him and his boys. I’m now convinced this is Cat’s sole motivation behind every “album” he releases, and I truly believe that this wayward “street poet” is so severely detached from reality, that he remains blissfully unaware to the obvious fact that most people simply don’t share his wildly offensive sense of humour, and that such lyrics are likely to off-put a large percentage of would-be fans.

In short, while “In the Jungle” could easily be interpreted as offensive to women, I believe that it was really more of a misguided attempt at good old, harmless fun—albeit a highly insensitive one. Fortunately for Cat, its seemingly effortless execution is what listeners are most likely to remember.

Next we re-visit the Skydome streaking incident his Wildness graphically depicted on last year’s In the Flesh, as Bacon picks up right where “Bottom of the 6th” left off with the sequel “Ya Gotta Run!” This time the shameless pervert is standing trail for his naked little adventure, and raps his plea to a no-nonsense judge, who also responds in rhyme. As does Cat’s lawyer, apparently provided by Legal Aid, as described:

“My lawyer rocked Hawaiian shirt with a comb over
Captain Morgan on his breath, I wish he’d flown sober
but this what happens when ya get stuck wit’ Legal Aid
he gently rubbed my back, and whispered ‘Don’t be afraid…”
Ya gotta run!”

The song concludes with Wildcat being found guilty, then stripping down in the courtroom and running away naked before police can apprehend him.

Despite all this unabashed absurdity, there is again a sense that Wildcat is finally making his craziness work for him, and somehow coming out victorious. This makes one want to stand up, cheer for Cat and celebrate his unexpected success—a much more rewarding feeling than feeling sorry for a hopeless goofball, as most of his songs elicit.

Yet, though Bacon kicks off wackier than ever, as it progresses the undomesticated feline continues to reveal the more emotionally honest, self-reflective side we first saw on Flesh, unleashing a torrent of lyrical guilt over the dark, sickly beautiful beat for “I’m Sorry.” But what’s most impressive about this tune is the delicate balance Wildcat achieves, releasing years of pent-up adolescent guilt while still treading so close to satire that one questions just how “Sorry” he truly is:

“Moms caught me fishing through my brother’s piggy-bank
just to cop a twen-sac of that diggy-dank;
looked in my Momma’s eyes, knew she was traumatized
so for all the stress I put you through, I apologize
from shaving my eyebrows, to selling them dimes
angels watch my back, but I got the devil inside
nuthin’ left to say, no happy ending to my story
except, for whatever it’s worth, I’m sorry...”

Though it’s never fully clear how literal Cat’s being on “I’m Sorry,” it still manages to both pluck heartstrings and induce chuckling, making for a paradoxical banger that resonates on multiple levels.

Bacon also features such oddities as “Snack-Wank-Booon,” an ode to the self-indulgent acts of just those—snacking, masturbating and smoking dope. Not to mention “Thug’s Island,” an open invitation for all the ladies to come party with Cat in his element—evidently an “island” where “thugs” go to unwind.

The last listed tune is “Dundas Ryders,” an unexpectedly poignant, mellow, guitar-laced ballad conveying the daily struggles experienced in Cat’s “’hood,” featuring a rare treat—Fry rapping his first verse to date. And I must say, Fry N’Em’s head producer really comes correct, not embarrassing himself half as hard as Cat first did on Pullin’ More Than Pranks:

“My first verse is my last, in the lab, behind the glass
cut the track, call the Cat; Tigga where you at?
In Dundas we run fast, quick cash and ski masks
but when they see my frame, they already know my name—
it’s Fry N’Em! It ain’t a secret that I heat ’em up
since I’m Pullin’ More Than Pranks, I ain’t gotta tough….”

Evidently not. I don’t reckon anyone from Dundas ever needs to act tough, as “Dundas Ryders” paints such a gritty portrait of urban, middle-class despair that anyone who endures such trials and tribulations on a daily basis needn’t feel they have anything to prove.

Then just when you think Bacon has reached its end, a few minutes after “Dundas Ryders” concludes comes an unlisted secret tune where Wildcat completely flies off the hinges, unleashing a relentless verbal attack on his teenage sister’s boyfriend, for no apparent reason besides the fact they’re dating.

This psychotic lyrical outburst paints a disturbing portrait of Cat brutally assaulting the teenage boy, and though it seems to be consciously over-the-top to invoke humour, it’s ultimately more unsettling than funny:

“No go, bro! You ain’t twistin’ my sister’s nippers!
Here’s 50 beans, grab a lap at the rippers!
Next time we meet, I’m a stab ya wit’ scissors!
Lates to the docs yo, this kid needs a wizard!”

I’ll say one thing for Wildcat—for better or worse, his songs don’t leave much to the imagination. But for all his vulgarity and tastelessness, the saving grace is that every single beat on Bacon perfectly suits the Mad Catter’s zany lyrics, which, combined with his ever-improving flow and timing, miraculously results in nothing sounding forced, or out of place. And it’s about goddamned time, already.

Another part of Bacon’s success is that Cat’s wacky lyrical content is nicely offset with enough serious material to give it a certain feeling of togetherness, which all of Cat’s previous records lacked.

Though his breath control still has a long way to go, the Cat-Man-Don’t is at least, for the most part on beat, energized, and completely committed to his hallucinated vision, offensive though it may be at times.

In short, Easy Bacon is simply the most consistent, cohesive, and seamlessly-flowing package of songs Wildcat has ever released; though his debauched character may not be improving at all, for all intents and purposes, at least his craft seems to be. And although Cat deserves zero praise for his animal-resembling-women advantage-taking, his compulsive public nudity, and his snack-wank-booning proclivities, at least his irreverence on Bacon feels much less random, and much more artfully orchestrated than ever before, for which I suppose he does deserve some credit.

He will always be crazy, he will never be mainstream, but Easy Bacon marks the closest Wildcat has ever come to using his unique madness as an advantage, and marketing it in a fairly accessible, entertaining package.

Though I still have no clue what the title Easy Bacon is supposed to mean, I suppose that’s the point—like the rest of the album, though it’s totally absurd, somehow it works this time.

There seems to be no hope of Wildcat ever becoming a grounded, stable individual. But I suppose that if one is doomed to journey through life being crazy, inept and socially oblivious they might as well try to make a career of it, and Easy Bacon marks Wildcat’s finest attempt to do so to date.

TOTAL SCORE: 10/10 (all measured on the Cat Potential scale)



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