All puns aside, hip-hoppers of the Caucasian persuasion have gotten a bad rap. Vanilla Ice may have achieved the highest rap sales of all time with 1990’s To the Extreme, but few in the hip-hop community would acknowledge him as a genuine artist. The Beastie Boys have fared pretty well in the areas of industry respect and record sales. But does anyone even remember 3rd Bass?
It ain’t easy being a white dude in the rap world.
Yet on the basis of talent alone, white boy Schizophrenic should get his due. He says his “ammunition’s strictly hip-hop.” And he seems to have a severe affection for the Fox TV series The X-Files. “Sly like a Fox/verbal mo(u)lder/Plus I wear the Scully on my head when it be colder,” Schizo raps on “Like That Y’all.” He builds the rap of “S Files” around a loop of the show’s eerie opening theme song. Despite his supernatural subjects, Schizophrenic breaks the stereotype that white rappers are a novelty by flashing some funky skill.
The appeal of Schizo’s sound is the simplicity. With plenty of space around the loopy drum and cowbell, the disco bass and JB’s guitar on “Like That Y’all” come off like an updated version of “Rapper’s Delight.” Best line award: “I could put doo-doo in your mouth and you still wouldn’t be saying shit.” On the aforementioned “S Files,” Schizo sticks with a laid-back beat, which supplements the song’s paranoid tone. Instead of throwing every beat available into one mix, Schizo stays minimal, recalling an earlier day of hip-hop.
This Freeport rapper/producer throws down to the “Don Hip-hoppy” gangsta rappers on “False Convictions.” Fittingly, Schizo hangs the track around a synthesized version of the theme from The Godfather. “My verbal gun is cocked,” he raps. When fired, that gun can sound like a hissier Q-tip.
Schizo could better mix things up with the help of some guest MCs, but overall, the sound is catchy and thumping. With his tight control of meter and keen ear for the shimmering sample, Schizo could win respect from even the stodgiest purist.
This article from the Village Voice Archive was posted on November 9, 1999