Back in 2009, brokeNCYDE made a bunch of cash off a young market with inexcusably bad taste who had yet to figure out music with their first full-length, the appropriately named I'm Not a Fan But The Kids Like It. Calling themselves “crunkcore,” brokeNCYDE mashed screamo vocals with hip hop beats, forging a style of music that could better be called "the worst music ever."
I even once gave the band an added benefit of the doubt by seeking them out at the Warped Tour, to see if maybe their live performance offered anything remotely entertaining. It didn't.
In 2010, they did it again with the scarily named brokeNCYDE Will Never Die. I steered clear of that release, but decided to check back in with the gang this time around with Guilty Pleasure, to see if they'd managed to get something right, and if they were worthy of living up to the title of their latest album. And I can honestly say that this time around that they have, because anyone who gets any sort of joy out of listening to this album should feel very, very guilty about it.
The band has actually gotten worse.
At one time, I compared them to The Lonely Island's "I'm On a Boat," with the addition of screamo vocals and the removal of anything entertaining. On Guilty Pleasure the band continues to conjure up SNL, imagery, but this time around it's from the show's years of poor writing, when sketches were built around a joke that was never funny to begin with, and went on way, way too long. Just like this band.
So again, they've offered up track after track of bad, flat music with tired dance beats, auto-tuned vocals, weak rhymes and the occasional screamo drop again. It's so much more of what they've always done that I can't even really manage to despise it as much as I despised their first release. It's just bad in a sad, tired way, played out like a hair metal band comprised of guys in their fifties making a go at it in a tiny bar one last time, and this band continues to be the perfect example of everything bad in music today, worsened by the fact that they're not even original about it anymore.
It's not a knock against hip hop music by pointing out the flawed ability of these "artists" or questioning how they managed to ever become part of the Warped Tour scene. Because this band doesn't fit into that group. They're like watching a bunch of 13-year-old kids trying to perform bad rap at a junior high talent show, but getting paid a fat paycheck for doing so. And despite all their promises, they can't bring a party. I've seen Andrew WK, 3OH!3 and Black Eyed Peas all on stage at Warped Tour over the years, so I know what it's like to see a party brought. brokeNCYDE? They don't bring a party in any fashion, unless your idea of a party being brought is somewhere between sitting at the kid's table on Thanksgiving and playing Spin the Bottle with your cousin. And that's a sad party.
On Guilty Pleasures, you get tracks like "Doin' My Thang" (Listen/Download) and "The Party Don't Stop" (Listen/Download), where they posture and strut about with poor grammar, auto tuning their vocals to within an inch of their lives, serving as a miserable example for the latest quasi-literate faction of mall culture, devoid of any message other than the shaking of booties, but not even shaking booties in a way that's ever even entertaining.
The only time the band manages to be remotely entertaining is on "U Mad Bro?" (Listen/Download), a track in which the band addresses their "haters," suggesting that the only reason that people would dislike the band would be because they had relations with said haters' girlfriends, rather than addressing the truth - this is a band with no talent that somehow manages to sell records.
Perhaps therein lies the appeal of brokeNCYDE to the world, and it's a matter that must be explained by those more in tune with complex mathematical formulas than I ever will be. At some point, this band emerged on the scene, so horribly bad that people started sharing links to them. Then they made a record, and people started buying it as a joke for people they hated. But the joke gained momentum, and it came into a life of its own. brokeNCYDE became a force to be reckoned with, an inexplainable force, born and raised by the internet, and this perhaps is the biggest argument for more regulation on the internet and perhaps even surrendering all control to the government. I can see an argument being made wherein it would be worth giving up all possibility of ever having any internet privacy again if it kept brokeNCYDE from making a record ever, ever again.
Please, don't buy this record. Don't even steal this record. If you value popular culture, you'll just pretend that this band never existed. They're already on they're way to becoming the latest generation's pleather bellbottoms, the sort of things that kids will look back at 10 years from now, shake their heads sadly and ask themselves, "what the hell were we thinking?"
In a way, brokeNCYDE serves as the last refuge for kids who are out to rebel against parents raised on the Stooges and Ramones. Or Public Enemy and N.W.A.. The kids can no longer shock their folks with the content of the music they're listening to, so they're instead going to try to shock them with the quality of the music they're listening to. Just like when my parents asked me "what is this crap?" when they first heard me listening to bands like the Sex Pistols, parents will ask the same about Guilty Pleasures. Only this time, they'll be right. It is crap.
If you want to be ahead of the curve a few years down the road, saying "I never liked brokeNCYDE, even when everyone else did" is destined to become the new version of the old punk mantra "I was into (insert band name) back before they were cool." Get on that train, and get on it now. If you bought any of their previous releases, I'm sorry. There's a good chance that you will never, ever, be respected for your taste in music again.
Release Date: November 8, 2011