Whatever you think of his sound, the world needs MC Lars. The bicoastal rapper is the poster child of the Do It Yourself artist and a role model for anyone who has passion and wants to become an artist. Since 2006, he has been spinning his own version of laptop hip-hop and taking intelligent digs at mainstream culture. His catalog has been self-made beats behind tongue-in-cheek and optimistic raps. For Lars Attacks!, the Oakland native turned to Kickstarter to fund a tightly produced release on his own label, Horris Records, that marks a maturation in MC Lars’ sound.
His trademark lean voice and swift rhymes remain as he continues his nerd-rap style with songs about aliens; Edgar Allen Poe; the Giving Tree and summer camp but counterbalance them with darker, more serious tracks. The “true to hip-hop” offerings of “The Gospel of Hip-Hop,” “How to Be an Indie Rapper,” and “Super Scope” show the human side to MC Lars and the struggles of a self-made artist.
The message is solid in these tracks: work hard, spend every day “writing rhymes,” live and breathe your passion, and “do it for the love” because the money will come, just not right away. This is a powerful and necessary message for those he refers to as the iGeneration, those who can put low quality and unintelligent fare up on YouTube and can get a million hits by going “viral” while more deserving artists toil away for a hundred views.
Thanks to having his own record label and getting funding from Kickstarter, MC Lars can rise out of the noise of the digital age and bring his rhymes to everyone. His voice is not as robust as some of his hip-hop peers, nor quite as boastful, a contrast which rears its head as he trades verses with KRS One in “The Gospel of Hip-Hop.” But the beats are infectious; his rhymes are well-written and honest, and a little bipolar.
Lars Attacks! is a massive charged battery, with obvious positive and negative nodes. On one side are the traditional songs of positivity, like the saccharin fable “Summer Camp Love (Is So In Tents),” a rap about his friend, “Mike Russo Cut Your Hair,” and the optimistic “Going Back To Brooklyn.” On the other side are a lot of dark sounding raps about the gospel of Judas, box jellyfish, slashers, and “History’s Greatest Assholes.” In the middle are the aforementioned songs that are truer to hip-hop, which is the area with the strongest promise.
When I re-listen to the album, I find myself skipping over certain tracks on either end of the spectrum and constantly gravitating towards songs like “Super Scope” and “The Gospel of Hip-Hop.” If this is the direction MC Lars takes his music, we will be better off for it, because he is a serious song-writer and is putting out a solid product. It is fantastic to watch everything come together for someone; the convergence of Horris Records, Kickstarter and returning to Brooklyn are paying off dividends for MC Lars, and you can support his growth by picking up Lars Attacks! on September 6th.