Home > Cultural lowpoints of 200x, In review > In review: Theophilus London – This Charming Mixtape

In review: Theophilus London – This Charming Mixtape

tcm-front-cover

 

This Charming Mixtape. This… Charming… Mixtape. How… how is that even a thing? Why is it a thing for that matter, why has this been allowed to happen? Obama’s only been in charge a week and already the world’s falling apart. And why is it called “This Charming Mixtape”, but he’s recreating the album cover of “This Year’s Model”? Was “This Year’s Mixtape” really too far a pun to stretch to? Couldn’t his art director find the right Photoshop filter for a faux-Smiths album cover? “This Charming Mixtape” sounds like an MP3 “mash-up” compilation circa 2002, y’know, Freelance Hellraiser blends together the exciting and challenging sounds of can’t-miss future superstars Ms Jade and The Von Bondies.

And anyway, why the confluence of The Smiths and Elvis Costello? Their artistic peaks were about a decade apart, and it’s hard to think of a single common musical thread between the two, despite their shared Irish ancestry. Unless the joke is, of course, that Costello and Morrissey are both comedy racists? Really, any self-respecting hip-hop mixtape with a Declan Mac jack as its cover would be called “The Blind Ignorant Nigger EP”. But then again, from looking at the cover it’s pretty clear that Theophilus London doesn’t really have any self-respect.

With a cover this fucking awful, and a rapper’s face this unlikeable, IchLugeBullets has no choice other than to review “This Charming Mixtape”, even if it is via the medium of six randomly tossed-off zings and an attempt at “hmmm, social context” to wrap it all up. 

And if you want to clown, you skip straight to the tracks with the worst names. So “Late Night Operation (Mike Dextro and Proper Villains Remix)” sadly signs off trance-snap as a genre by starting off like as an expansive-but-awful Italo trance track circa 1999 and then swings violently into DJ Bobo territory; “Aquamilitia” is not, as the title suggests, a nautical-themed posse cut (real talk: Theophilus London looks like the kinda guy who dressed up as a pirate on university bar crawls), but rather Amp Fiddler on syrup, only worse; and “Day One Fans” isn’t him shouting out utterly forgotten 1999 Mario C-produced post-trip hop act Day One, which is weird, because it sounds a lot like them.

It’s not all seriousness with this four-eyed prick though, there’s laughs-aplenty too, including a skit where he phones up a girl to propose, possibly as a practical joke. Unfortunately, it’s been recorded with a “down the line” vocal effect, giving the whole endeavour serious “this phonecall is coming from inside your house” overtones, which are only amplified by London’s heavy breathing. And as you’ve drifted off from the boredom of the entire album, the moment when he starts singing, possibly without irony, Joe Cocker’s “You Are So Beautiful”, the alternating effects of tedium and awkward jarring make you feel like you’ve just woken up after dozing off in front of the television, only to find your flatmate’s hand on your crotch.

Look: this is indefensible. London can’t rap, his flow is alternately awkward or indecipherable, he has no memorable lines, no presence, no emotion, he may as well be rhyming over trip-hop such is his intensity. London has an awful ear for a beat as well: things tend towards the electro, but when it’s a “signified dance to” track it just makes you realise that America probably could have done with Dave Pearce at some point in the past decade, and when it’s a “signified think about” track, you get the impression that London spent the early 2000s stoned off his gourd, playing Wipeout and listening to that “Ninja Cuts” compilation. The entire album strikes me as the sort of recording that could only be enjoyed by the sorts of people who synch their Twitter feed to their Facebook status update. Twats, in other words.

Even so… there’s something I’m not sure about here. The reason we chose this to clown on is because, well, our immediate reaction was “Holy Christ, the last thing I need in my life is a rapper making Elvis Costello references”. Does that make me a bad person? I mean, by seeing “blipsters” (helpfully autocorrected to “blisters” by Microsoft Word) as somehow tainting hip-hop, am I at best drawing racial boundaries where they don’t need to be, and at worst being straight-up racist?

The worst part (and believe me, there were many contenders for that role) of Sasha Frere-Jones’ infarmously dreadful New Yorker article entitled “Black People Are Good At The Singing And The Dancing And That, Why Can’t Animal Collective Be More Like Black People?” was how it was built on the understanding that what makes rap the finest of musics isn’t that it allows someone to take nearly anything from 100 years of recorded music, shove some drums under it, and then proceed to spit flame over the top of it, but rather some “magical negro” ability by all black artists to bring beauty and rhythm to their recordings, and if only those doggone indie acts could be more black we’d all live happier lives. Utterly fucking ridiculous.

But yet, by zinging the generation of soft-serve, Urkel-spectacled rappers, are we just being as useless and dreadful a human being as SFJ undoubtedly is? Quite possibly. Regardless of all this, “This Charming Mixtape” is an absolutely failure as a piece of music on all understandable levels and I now wish London serious physical illness and emotional pain, but if you think that as well you’re probably a racist. Your call.

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  1. Maria Smedstad
    January 28, 2009 at 10:29 am

    Racism.

  2. January 28, 2009 at 9:27 pm

    damn son your really a hater

  3. January 28, 2009 at 9:31 pm

    the fact that this guy has even heard of the smiths or that fella off the lemonade advert means he is insufficiently black for my liking.

    i’m gonna have to go and listen to some freeway now.

  4. January 28, 2009 at 9:37 pm

    doin it for the kids

  5. brooklyn
    January 29, 2009 at 9:09 am

    THIS BLOGS SUCKS
    IF I KNEW WHO YOU WERE I WOULD FUCK U UP JUST FOR USING THE NIGGER COOMENT
    TO BAD YOUR BLOG DOESNT GET THAT MUCH REVIEWS. and only got 5 comments hahahahahhahah
    AND THE MIXTAPE GOT 10,000 DOWNLOADS IN 3 DAYS

    mr bullets
    smh

  6. Cashmore
    January 29, 2009 at 4:16 pm

    Six comments.

  7. Biche
    January 29, 2009 at 6:05 pm

    Seven

  8. Cashmore
    January 29, 2009 at 6:23 pm

    Eight Ball and MJG

  9. Cashmore
    January 29, 2009 at 6:34 pm

    Mikah Nine. Look. It’s a game!

  10. January 29, 2009 at 10:07 pm

    this mix tap is crap. 10,000 downloads means nothing when it still sucks. That means 10,000 people got to hear a bunch of shit shoved into the ear. Do some homework before you try and master this son.

  11. AJ
    January 30, 2009 at 8:19 am

    Mack 10 + 1

    😄

  12. Maria Smedstad
    January 30, 2009 at 10:38 am

    AJ commenting but no Aly? Sucks.

  13. Cashmore
    January 30, 2009 at 10:39 am

    Can anyone think of one for 11?

    I was thinking of Dynamix II but that’s cheating.

  14. Dom Passantino
    January 30, 2009 at 11:48 am

    Lord Rockingham’s XI

  15. Cashmore
    January 30, 2009 at 1:18 pm

    12 Inches The Hard Way.

    I know that’s a song rather than an act, but I mention it anyway because I once bought something from DJ Sound Machine off of Ebay.

  16. harlem
    March 25, 2009 at 9:06 pm

    friday the 13th.

  17. the truth
    April 7, 2009 at 12:01 am

    theophilus london is sick- and when he explodes you will take all this shit back and praise him.

  18. p silly
    April 14, 2009 at 10:28 am

    i know nothing about, say, the technical part of music and rapping and whatnot. all i know is what appeals to me. my general music i listen to is folky, country stuff with the occasional poppy, electronic thing (mgmt “time to pretend” is one of my all time favorite songs). i had a sort of “hipster” mentality thing going on for awhile, but i’ve deserted that, so my music ranges from being woefully obscure to incredibly mainstream.

    and i love theophilus london. i normally don’t listen to “rap” or “hip hop” or whatever the genre is, but i can’t stop listening to his music. it’s like taking a long drink of water after being horrendously thirsty. it’s so wonderful, catchy, and dances into my ear.

    why is there so much hate in this post?

  19. April 21, 2009 at 4:30 am

    28 , not from Brooklyn , and 2 Faced.

  20. April 21, 2009 at 4:35 am

    With a pissy attitude and an “everyone owes me”
    approach, he will fail.

  21. o
    December 15, 2009 at 4:02 am

    when theo gets big your gonna like him. isnt that how it always works.

    plus all this music you like is the same thing what makes freeway and beanie siegel so different…nothing bc they aer the same and so is all this other bullshit music

  22. MozThaGreat
    December 25, 2009 at 6:11 pm

    WOOOOOOOOOW i am truly amazed at how well u described how bad this mixtape was. lol personally i think its a masterpiece.

  23. Dicktakular
    February 4, 2010 at 2:40 am

    This was such a ball ache to read.

    Sure, being an angry bastard can be entertaining, but there are other far more effective (and original) ways to get people reading your blog.

  24. Chucky_Nite
    February 9, 2010 at 3:08 am

    LOL! I read this shit thinking I was actually gonna get a GOOD reason for someone to dislike such a left-field and adventurous piece….sadly, I’m always disappointed by some fool whos probably typing on his moms thinkpad, pissed off at the fact he doesnt have the balls or will to push an idea that people can’t understand. Get some REAL content and stop watching Wendy Williams HATER!

  25. Paul P
    May 6, 2010 at 6:46 pm

    JerkHey Mr. Paul Lester / Your “the Gaurdian Man” catch up.

    It seems that you was partying to a mix from a year ago huh? / Fess up

    who’s next up? / ICHE LEGE YOU?!

    Where the bullets at ill Fist you

  26. Game Show
    May 6, 2010 at 10:07 pm

    Yeah, African Americans shouldn’t be influenced by rock bands. They don’t have the right to, they need to stick to their black music and be influenced by that.

    Get your head out your ass Mr. Paul Lester. You have the Indoctrined Racism syndrome hope you get well soon

  27. rico
    February 17, 2011 at 6:11 am

    Went to school with this joke. He’s such a fake. He’s from Brooklyn my ass! He lived in Pennsylvania in the fucking hills from like 8th grade on. He couldn’t read for shit and copied shitty Kanye’s style for a while. Gotta love his bullshit getup he took accustomed to in art “coolege”. Highlight of my life was when some kid on the baseball team (quietest kid ever) socked him in the face for giving him lip. Honestly everyone here lulz when they see his sorry ass on TV.

  1. January 21, 2010 at 1:46 pm
  2. May 5, 2010 at 5:58 pm
  3. May 5, 2010 at 10:15 pm
  4. February 16, 2011 at 9:02 pm

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