Since alleged mensches the Beasties have become preoccupied with saving monks, it’s schlemiels like Busta and Wyclef whom we count on to carry the kishke on behalf of Borscht Belt sensibilities. So it figures that a novelty rap act called M.O.T. has garnered about as much respect as Professor Griff’s solo career. (Well, so much for his old theories . . . )
The half-witted work of Dr. Dreidel and Ice Berg (a/k/a Andrew Rosenthal, formerly half of too-late new-wave parody Martini Ranch), 19.99 is titled in a way that implies “don’t worry, we won’t hurt you, we only want to have some fun.“ But while strangely earnest liner notes by manager Meshugge Knight (a/k/a Hits magazine smart aleck Roy Trakin) promise parallels ranging from Lenny Bruce to Fanny Brice, M.O.T.’s opening big-up to pleasures of trayf Chinese food, “Emmes G,” immediately recalls Everlast’s pugnacious persona circa House of Pain.
It should be presumed that any hip-hop satire this side of Chris Rock is gonna be a half-decade outta step; musical allusions here don’t get further than M.C. Hammer or L’Trimm, with a passel of played-out gangsta style. “Double Dutch Lunch” could qualify as old-school genius— that is, if closeted Yid Malcolm McLaren hadn’t gotten there first.
Now, you shouldn’t expect much from an album whose aesthetic highlight is a whistling cameo from beleaguered actor Judge Reinhold, but at least these Hebes are hardcore enough to give a shout-out to Manischewitz’s famously flavorless Tam Tams crackers. Although 19.99 ain’t much saltier, rapzine editors needn’t fear assaults from any schnorrers in M.O.T.’s “Kosher Nostra.” Worst they’ll do is cancel their subscriptions (then buy a newsstand copy for the scrapbook. And to show their mothers).
This article from the Village Voice Archive was posted on February 9, 1999