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Reviewed by David Medsker
One listen of Tastemaker, the mini-album from former punk rocker Pittsburgh Slim, will have you wondering if there is an underground, hip hop equivalent of “The Manual” floating around. The album leaves no cliché behind. All the girls are sluts (even the “classy” ones), the protagonist spends most of the time ridin’ in his Caddy with the aforementioned slutty girls – bonus points if they make out with each other – he has a “dick that’ll hit your ribs,” and not a day goes by when he’s not hopped up on goofballs. One track wants to be “99 Problems,” another wants to be 2 Live Crew. The rest are Casio keyboards put to dull-as-dirt drum beats, and when he decides to show his more playful side, he samples…Matthew Wilder. Really? Matthew Wilder?
The big hook of the record is “Girls Kiss Girls,” which made a huge splash on YouTube thanks to the inclusion of a Penthouse Pet macking with another babe. Slim, meanwhile, is watching the action on a webcam, looking every bit the horny teenager that his lyrics proudly proclaim him to be. He makes it with two women at the same time in at least two songs (only in the movies, kids), and the rest of the time he feeds them coke and booze until they do whatever he wants them to do. It’s like interviewing a porn producer and a date rapist at the same time. “Girls Kiss Girls” would have been one thing had it been a novelty track on an otherwise straight-up hip-hop record. Instead, it appears to be Slim’s mantra.
And who needs another record like that? The problem with Tastemaker isn’t its complete lack of taste, but the fact that there is nothing here that hasn’t been done before, and better. Heck, Puff Daddy rapped over Matthew Wilder’s “Break My Stride” a decade ago. Sex in a Caddy? Good girls gone bad? Gin and juice? Doggystyle and The Chronic covered these subjects in great detail a decade and a half ago. Give it up, fellas: there are no songs yet to be written that cover misogyny from new and interesting angles.
Pittsburgh Slim fancies himself as a versatile guy, one that appreciates hardcore punk, electro pop, and hip hop. That may be true, but as long as his lyrical focus continues to be so one-dimensionally juvenile – note to Slim: the ones that talk the most about having sex are usually the ones that aren’t getting any – he will never be known as anything but that “Girls Kiss Girls” guy, and the rest of Tastemaker does little to convince people to think otherwise. “Pittsburgh, stay pretty / Sin City / Show me some titties”? Oh, brother.