I’m not a huge fan of the ironic re-appropriation of bad 80s/90s video culture exhibited by Tim and Eric and other Adult Swim programs, but this is in part because I think Everything is Terrible!
already fills that void pretty well using actual
regrettable cultural artifacts, sliced up and rejoined together in Frankenstein monsters of anti-nostalgia. I’ve enjoyed all of the previous DVD compilations Everything is Terrible has put out to varying positive degrees, but they have truly outdone themselves with their latest offering, Everything is Terrible! Does the Hip-Hop
. The 47 minute program is part of a recent double feature, sharing disc space with a compilation of awful stand-up performances cobbled together to highlight the throughline of unfunny schtick from hacks like Gallagher et al (Five minutes of jokes about Mexicans from a dozen comics, then five minutes of rotten bits about gays, etc). That program is solid entertainment and typical of the usual EIT aesthetic, but Does the Hip-Hop
exists on a whole other plane of enjoyment.
In what is legitimately a concise and cogent work of social criticism, EIT Does the Hip-Hop
compiles dozens of horrendously
misguided and sincere attempts to pander to assorted audiences under the guise of jovial rapping. As a catalog of Adults Think Kids Are Idiots, it’s unsurpassed. As a collection of racial usurpation and toothless white cultural reappropriation, it’s second to none. But, most surprisingly, the clips are seamlessly mixed together and backed Girl Talk-style with familiar samples and mashups, while the video screen itself is filled with hundreds of VHS-sourced clips to visually accompany a given track, in the process becoming the most unexpectedly enjoyable video mixtape imaginable. I don’t even know what to call this: Is it one of the best albums of 2015? One of the best films? The greatest work of criticism? The most unwaveringly entertaining cultural object? All of the above, I guess.
Rewatching it again, I was struck by just how many awful ideas people have had in the last thirty years. We have multiple Christian raps, mostly delivered by white people, with highlights including an ode to home schooling and an astonishing performance of “Gimme That Christian Side Hug” that refutes the existence of a merciful God purely by existing. There’s the various corporate videos meant to make employee education fun: I sadly actually sat through the whole Pier 1 Imports customer service rap sampled here when I worked there in college, and internet staples like the Wendys’ grill guide rap are present as well. There’s celebrities who should have known better, like Dr Oz, Tom Hanks, and, most cringe-inducingly, Anne Hathaway dropping an endless “freestyle” about paparazzi on Conan O’Brien (here hilariously backed by a Bruce Hornsby sample). Mostly we get raps that make learning “fun” for kids, and these are plentiful and universally awful, or should I say awe-full. The cheapest but surest laugh in the entire program is a breakdown of a science rap educating children on their buttocks, rapped with the same pronunciation Forest Gump used, and endlessly recycled in order to make it palatable to young people. It, like everything else here, is a grim look at how clueless those in charge of anything usually are, be they for commercials (Not just Tide or McDonalds, but cable companies and, perhaps most memorably, a DC realtor) or TV programming or film soundtracks (Teen Witch
of course shows up, as do Vanilla Ice and MC Hammer’s dueling franchise contributions). Everything is Terrible! Does the Hip-Hop
is the most entertaining and concise history of cultural pandering imaginable, and well worth the $15 it’s going for on the EIT website
(where it’s a professionally pressed DVD, FYI). Highly recommended.