MC Wildcat – Year Of The Golden Pig (2007)
a review by Edward J. Sneed
I am seriously starting to wonder if there’s any force in this universe powerful enough to make MC Wildcat hang up his goddamn mic. With the release of Year of the Golden Pig, his eighth “album” in as many years, Wildcat is proving to be on a hell-bent mission to become the Tupac of tasteless, white-boy joke rap.
And for some reason, the Dundas Ryder has decided to incorporate this year’s Chinese Zodiac sign, the Pig, into his “album” concept. However, ladies and gentlemen, it should be noted that this year of our Lord, 2007 is not just any ordinary year of the Pig; for in fact as Wildcat’s “album” title states, 2007 marks the year of the Golden Pig—a porky little bearer of good luck and fortune who, according to Chinese astrology, appears only once every 600 years.
I suppose this explains why Mr. Cat is seen sporting a golden pig snout, golden face paint, and a gold dress shirt on his “album” cover. Given the bizarre nature of this concept, one would expect its author to elaborate on all this golden pig business on the song of the same name— but instead the title track “Year of the Golden Pig” goes off on a wild pig chase—which is to say a circular, lyrical pig-tangent that creates more questions than it answers, rendering one even more confused. Anyone who can make sense of the following pig-rhymes is a better man than I:
“Walks wit’ a pig-bob, speaks fluent pig-talk
all I see are sweaty little pigs on inkblots
cooked up a pig-plot, started makin’ big chops
saved all my coins in my sweaty little pig-pot
oinked out a rickshaw, nah, that’s a pigshaw;
six bucks a block in my sweaty little pig-paw
use that to pig-chop my disc when it pig-drops
Bacon got slept on, these next songs? I think not
Now I’m a big shot, my pig rhymes are pig-hot
ya’ll at Rivey farm moppin’ up sweaty pig-plop
I spit in a studio, ya’ll stuck in a stinkbox
wishing ya’ll had that sweaty sumpin’ that Pig got”
Yes Cat, while we do realize 2007 is indeed the Year of the Golden Pig, the question still begs to be asked—why is a self-proclaimed Wildcat adopting the guise of this filthy little barnyard animal? It just doesn’t make any sense whatsoever, much like the rest of this mess Mr. Wild-Golden Pig-Cat calls an “album.”
Later we are treated to “Jungle Warrior,” another bizarre musical experience that somehow makes even less sense, and offers less musical merit than “Golden Pig.”
Interestingly though, “Jungle Warrior” is produced by one Pete King, who also produces two other tunes on Golden Pig. Which suggests that the Dundas Don may finally be attempting to revise his standard “album” making formula, of typically recording nine to ten tracks with Fry, and two or three with Star. For of the 14 tracks on Golden Pig, this time only seven are produced by Fry (the fewest of any Cat “album” to date), along with four by Star, three by Pete King, and one by “Big Moe,” another new addition to the Wild roster.
Although branching out to work with new producers sounds like a good idea in theory, after hearing “Jungle Warrior” it becomes painfully clear that the Cat should not stray too far from Dundas.
“Jungle Warrior” provides a lengthy story rap about an orphan raised by animals in Toronto’s Don Valley, who somehow finds his way into the city and becomes a freestyle battle rap champion—but despite Cat’s self-indulgent lyrics that no other soul on earth can relate to, he should not be held entirely to blame for this debacle. For the beat is another bland, uninspiring, monotonous dud. The chorus tells the whole story:
“Jungle Warrior, raise your sword
towards the heavens, praise your lord
for your health, your inner strength
your tolerance for pain, and survival instincts”
If this Don Valley orphan character is meant to be a thinly veiled version of Cat himself, then one wonders why he chose such an obscure, un-relatable persona as his fictitious vehicle. On the other hand, if “Jungle Warrior” is not based on Wildcat, then one still wonders just what his intent behind this strange tale was, and why Cat is rapping it with such intense passion. I suppose these questions will just remain mysteries of the ages.
Next comes the wildly inappropriate “Grade 10 Goddess,” featuring the KISS sample “I was made for loving you, baby,” blasting in the chorus. The lyrics are simply too disgusting to bother quoting, nor even necessary—“Grade 10 Goddess” is precisely what it sounds like it’s about, and I refuse to further dignify this drivel by excerpting any of Cat’s filthy rhymes.
As usual, I am unsure whether this is yet another pathetic attempt at shock value on Cat’s part, or if he is consciously trying to deviate from his sexual muse of “albums” past—cougars.
One can never be quite sure where the line between fact and fiction lies with his Wildness, considering his vivid imagination and the obvious pleasure he derives from pushing the envelope. It often feels as if he has a tendency to exaggerate and veer off into realms of quasi-magic realism, but then again, he is crazy enough to streak a baseball stadium with 50,000 attending fans, so his profoundly poor judgment cannot really be questioned either, lending credence to the theory that he truly believes every word flying out of his wild mouth.
Regardless, the truth of the matter is that whether Catter genuinely dated a “Grade 10 Goddess” or not, and simply wrote this song to ruffle the feathers of the general population, is irrelevant—either case reflects a complete lack of personal growth over these past eight years. First cougars, now grade 10s—I mean, just what is this guy’s problem? Why must he be such an extremist in his tastes, why can’t he find a nice girl his own age? Oh, that’s right—because he’s a Cat Shit Crazy, Wild nut, and probably strikes the fear of God into the heart of any female who gets to know him on any meaningful level. This likely leads to a rather solitary existence, which I suppose could explain his sexual deviancy, but irregardless rap music is by no means the right genre to express such devilish compulsions, and frankly I’m not sure what is.
Track seven, “Cookie Cutter MCs” is one of the rare tracks on Golden Pig that could be considered something close to a gem. Here Wildcat assumes three different caricaturized personas—a baller, a backpack rapper, and a thug. He proceeds to rap three self-consciously generic verses to suit each persona, as the beat switches perfectly from voice to voice. Fry seems to have a fetish for switching his beats up out of nowhere, but in the past such changes have typically detracted from his tracks, rather than added anything. Yet each beat change on “Cookie Cutter MCs” successfully welcomes in a new persona without sounding totally random, for once.
Though this tune cleverly underlines the fact that today’s rap game has become a formulaic pose-fest, it is unlikely to change anything about this predicament. To me, the real points being made in “Cookie Cutter MCs” are those implied in Wildcat’s undertones—that he will adamantly resist the commercialization of rap music with every bone in his body, and always remain true to his deeply debauched, albeit original style till the end. Which is fine, if you’re content being a Dundas legend unbeknownst to the rest of the world.
But the ultimate irony, which Wildcat doesn’t even seem to appreciate is that his determination to stay true to his psychotically skewed vision—though admirable in an old-fashioned, tragically naïve sort of way, is also the very quality that will ultimately prevent him from ever succeeding on a major level. Yes, of course it’s true that the rap game has become shamelessly formulaic, and is indeed now a commercial money machine largely controlled by high-powered suits in boardrooms, despite what most rappers who like to brag about “keeping it real” and “repping the streets” and whatnot would like to have us believe—but so what? That’s simply the nature of the game these days and if a rapper can’t adjust themselves to the bottom-line realities of corporate America, then they’re not going to have much of a career. In short, when it comes to the rap game, its still very much “play or be played.”
Perhaps it does take more “artistic integrity” to “keep it real” or whatever it is the Mad Catter is presumably trying to do, but the fact remains that if he rapped more about money, cars and ho’s, and less about golden pigs, jungle warriors and grade 10 goddesses, he would undoubtedly be pushing more units. So overall “Cookie Cutter MCs,” though executed with commendable creativity and insight, still ultimately says more about why Cat will never be a commercial success than it does offer any real clarity into the current state of the rap game.
Later in the album Wildcat finally returns to reality, and reveals his more tender side on “After the Downpour,” recounting a tale of heartbreak and love loss. While doing so the Elvis Costello sample “Alison” from his song of the same name pops in and out over a melodic, piano-heavy beat, subtlely complimenting Cat’s heartfelt rhymes:
“Eventually I got digits, we started to kick it;
but who could’ve predicted how you’d switch an’ flip it
throwin’ out mixed signals, nuthin’ consistent—
is this romance or no chance? The Kid didn’t get it
he wanted to hit it; she wasn’t with it
then everything got twisted, damn,
I wish it was different....”
Despite “After the Downpour” actually being quite a lovely, genuinely touching little song, and the least self-consciously irreverent on Golden Pig, the emotional impact it creates is quickly shattered by the following track, “The Cat Came Back.”
Although the traditional version of “The Cat Came Back” is typically identified with the 90s children’s group Sharon, Lois & Bram, I do believe that the version used here in Cat’s unauthorized sample is in fact the original, written by Henry S. Miller in 1893.
But in his creepy adaptation of the famed children’s song “The Cat” assumes the persona of an obsessed ex-boyfriend, where his execution is so over-the-top ridiculous that it completely discredits all the genuine, heartfelt emotion expressed in “Downpour.” Of course, this may very well be his desired effect, but irregardless “The Cat Came Back” is so wildly exaggerated that it cannot be taken seriously at all, thereby causing one to dismiss the underlying heartbreak it subtly carries and take the whole concept as a joke, despite its painful subtext. To wit:
“got your phone number on mental speed dial
tell me stop calling, youse in heavy denial
don’t answer? I’ll keep pressin’ re-dial;
get your voicemail, I’m a kick a freestyle:
‘Check 1-2, open your damn door!
I’ve been banging for 40 minutes, or more!
your knocker’s falling off, my knuckles are bleeding
just lemme in for a sec, it’s fucking freezing!
We really need to talk about this dude you’re humpin’;
I’m a piss-bomb him if you don’t dump him
so give me a shout back, you’ve got till noon
’k, guess that’s it for now, talk to you soon!’”
Jesus Christ, the poor girl. For her sake I sincerely hope “The Cat Came Back” is a work of fiction.
Regardless, if Cat’s intention is indeed to self-satirize his own emotional vulnerability displayed in “Downpour,” as one can only presume given the sequencing of these two songs, then this further reflects his use of humour as a defense mechanism to downplay serious issues, as well as his evident discomfort with rapping his innermost feelings, as I have long hinted at. Wildcat seems far more willing to play a parody of himself than to actually be himself, and as long as this dynamic prevails he will forever remain his own worst enemy, and possibly the biggest self cock-blocker to ever lace the mic.
I have suggested before that this tepid approach to his own subject matter may in fact be Cat’s greatest artistic weakness, as his emotionally charged content often makes for his most compelling songs, yet he chooses to venture into this territory so rarely. It seems me to that Cat, like many young men exudes a noticeable amount of pressure to follow some silly macho credo about never showing weakness, when in fact he needs to realize that as an artist it is precisely the expression of one’s innermost personal, intimate feelings that typically produce their best work.
In Cat’s defense, he also seems to have a non-existent support system—no manager, no sensible people giving him direction, no marketing strategy, and worst of all no desire, much less the know-how, to make himself marketable to a mainstream audience.
But alas, Wildcat is, was, and always will be an individual who goes at his own pace, does exactly what he wants, and has virtually no regard for anyone else’s opinions on anything. Thus the “albums” he creates, and the status and reputation he’s earned in today’s rap game (nowhere and none).
But I digress. In conclusion Year of the Golden Pig, even when measured on the Cat Potential Scale we established last Cat review, still remains a sloppy, perverted, nonsensical nightmare. It is also clear to me now that this uncontrollable shitstorm of an “artist” has absolutely zero objective judgment when it comes to his own music, and should never be allowed to make decisions regarding his own “career,” ever, under any circumstances. The results of Cat being his own boss this entire time has brought him to exactly where he is—being possibly the most obscure yet contradictorily prolific, and sloppy yet oddly inimitable artist the rap game has never heard of. For whatever that’s worth.
On the few occasions when the Wild One completely sheds his self-conscious inhibitions, he is actually capable of stirring powerful emotions, and breaking down complex issues through eloquent, multi-syllabic rhyme patterns.
But sadly, he is seldom comfortable enough to reveal his true self on more than a song or two per “album.” He’d much rather play the ridiculous anti-hero—the Don Valley orphan, the teenage predator, the obsessed stalker—the “Golden Pig,” if you will.
Whatever the hell that means.
TOTAL SCORE: 6.3/10 (all measured on the Cat Potential Scale)