The first sign that something’s wrong with El Prezidino is when he declares, on “Introduction,” “I’m God’s most favorite rapper cuz he said so.” After eight years of a president who thinks his god speaks to him directly, do we really need a rapper who thinks the same thing?
Maybe not, but then, this particular Prez has a talent for creating tasty grooves, and after a few Hammond swells and some head-nodding bass, all is forgotten. Prezidino lays it on thick, continuing the theme with “Push Me,” a strange little metaphor in which Prez is religion and also a hot new drug — “I heard when you take it your problems disappear.” But still, the music grooves, and anyone nutty enough to dress up Cutting Crew’s schmaltzy 80s hit “I Just Died In Your Arms Tonight” in hip hop drag probably doesn’t take himself too seriously. And he seems to mean well, taking on gangsta rap and the drug scene. So, fine. He’s got talent and a message and a sense of humor. What more could you want?
Then things get a bit more serious. On “Haterz,” Prezidino declares he is “God’s voice to the people,” and then a verse or two later, says he is persecuted by people who think he doesn’t mention Jesus enough in his music. He talks about his power and message making him a target on “I’m Dead Already,” ending with the line, “This is what it sounds like when lions eat men.”
Then he gets downright nasty on “Good Morning America,” in which god raps directly to a sleeping America. This is fire and brimstone, hardline retribution straight out of the worst hatemongering Jerry Falwell speech — “Like during Katrina, yeah, I almost believed ya, until you had the nerve to start cussing out F.E.M.A., and last I checked I didn’t change what marriage was, so I see you haven’t had enough.” Later on, he throws in the line, “How you love me but elect homosexuals?”
Prezidino has a persecution complex, on behalf of himself and god, that is simply too big to get around. The classic egotistical mistake, he makes himself the message, and preaches hate as odious as the worst elements of gangsta rap he’s targeting. And then he’s surprised at any negative reaction. Which is a shame, because there’s a lot of good on Me or Nothing, but it winds up being the hip hop version of a Chick Publications tract [please use this link: http://www.chick.com/default.asp].
Words By: Nick A. Zaino III