By Steve Weinstein
By Bryan Bierman
By Lindsey Rhoades
By Chaz Kangas
By Ben Westhoff and Sarah Purkrabek
By Jena Ardell
By Jesse Sendejas Jr.
By Katherine Turman
Crazy Town look like someone's idea of a parody. What with their overabundance of tattoos and piercings, it's like MTV decided to do a show about a rap-metal band trying to make it big ('cept they would probably switch Crazy Town's black DJ for a black dwarf DJ who's always getting drunk and showing up late for shows and yet is more popular with the ladies than the pretty boys in the band, much to their dismay). Even the name is perfect. Only the real-life Nothingface or Bigdumbface would be better.
And yet, I don't think even MTV could come up with a track as groovy as "Butterfly." Crossing the great racial divide with ease (it's the only pretty fly for a you-know-what on the wall of my hip-hop record store of choice, and if you hear it on the radio you might even think it's Xzibit if you've never heard Xzibit) and employing the same sort of lazy beat and breezy guitar hook that Sugar Ray rode to hitdom ('cept Crazy Town's hook is way cooler, with the kind of spacey echo that drove Junior's "Mama Used to Say"), it's truly one of the greatest summer hits of the winter of all time. If you've only recently gotten those dogs out of your head, the sleaze-cheese "Come m'lady, come come m'lady" chorus might just drive you as crazy as lead singer Shifty Shellshock (!) when he contemplates the affections of said titular insect.
I was expecting "Butterfly" to be the anomaly on an album filled with limp rap and stale bizkitismsthe modern equivalent of Blind Melon's one shining bee-girl song amid bad Guns N' Roses throwaways (or Sugar Ray's sweetness twixt the lame punk). But 'tis not true. Crazy Town's The Gift of Gameis a catchy bubble-core hybrid of the best in post-Woodstock attytude. PG-rated playground playa talk set to bouncy beats and tame yet tasty nu-metal crunch. I'm hoping more korny krybabies take their cues from the livin' large teen-poppers, let some light in, and spare me the nookie-bashing. I just want the cookie!