Day 238: Chilly Gonzales – The Unspeakable

24 Oct

Rap Race

Look, I could just type up a post of only lyrics from this record, and it’d be funnier and more interesting than anything I’ve ever written.  Actually, I’m pretty tempted to do just that.  There’s something standing in the way, though.  Having just listened to Chilly Gonzales’ ridiculously awesome The Unspeakable, every brilliant line said by one of the funniest dudes that I’ve ever heard is quickly escaping my head.  I’ma start this record up again, and hopefully pull some of the brightest gems for y’all because that’s the only way that I can hope to do this record justice.

You know what, second thought.  Quoting many of these lines out of context just won’t do it. Listen to Self Portrait or Beans, and I’m confident that you’ll see what I mean pretty quickly.

It’s not just the hilarious self-deprecating rhymes that make The Unspeakable so endearing.  This really is hip-hop in its most unlikely form.  Chilly Gonzales is a 40-year-old white guy (who looks like this), who has produced for a bunch of big names, and released music of every variety—in addition to his hip-hop work, he’s got a few electronic records, and a 16-track album of his piano compositions under his belt.  He has one of the strangest (and arguably one of the worst) flows in rap history, and perhaps most importantly, there is not a single beat to be found on this album.  As far as I know, that’s pretty much unheard of in hip-hop.  This is orchestral hip-hop, though, and Chilly Gonzales does not conform to standards (he’d tell you to go listen to The xx or Gossip if “normal” is what you’re looking for).

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5 Responses to “Day 238: Chilly Gonzales – The Unspeakable”

  1. Yuanny Dollar October 25, 2011 at 5:14 am #

    This guy is very funny. I have no idea how you categorize this music. Maybe you just file it under funny, or funny/weird. This is Bo Burnham in 25 years.

    • Chilly Chops October 25, 2011 at 1:08 pm #

      Here is most of what you need to know about Jason Beck, a.k.a. Chilly Gonzales:

      – “Recognising that pop success had as much to do with a good press angle as musical talent, Gonzales decamped to Berlin in 1999, where he decided his Jewish heritage could give him a marketing edge. However, he spoke no German. He adopted the ‘Chilly Gonzales’ moniker after reportedly being hailed as such by a stranger in the street, and developed this into his popular stage persona as a Jewish supervillain MC. ”

      – “On September 25, 2009, he challenged singer/songwriter/fellow pianist Andrew W.K. to a piano battle at Joe’s Pub in New York City. After twenty minutes of back and forth, Chilly finally threw a gold necklace at Andrew, distracting him long enough to claim victory. A rematch has been talked about but not yet organized.”

      • Yuanny Dollar October 26, 2011 at 4:15 am #

        Sounds like a great moment. The only other thing they needed was Ben Folds at a third piano. Check this out: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=trJ0b3IctQM&feature=player_embedded

      • Chilly Chops October 26, 2011 at 5:38 am #

        J$, that Ben Folds cover is one of my favorites. As long as we are talking piano – I love this four-handed piano bit with Chilly sitting on the floor while Josh Dolgin, a.k.a. So-Called, plays over his shoulders: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=euirw5Dcwsg. As long as Mr. Ear riding a wave of off-beat rap he might want to check out Mr. Socalled’s hip-hop seder: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dlgi_qyPOR0

      • Chops Lap Lap November 10, 2011 at 12:13 pm #

        Mr. Ear, I thought you might get a kick out of this: the normally placid Feist rapping and hoofing with Chilly (with beats, flow and everything): http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KggSIrfL-90 This was around the time that Ms. Feist was touring with Peaches under the clever moniker “Bitch Lap Lap”.

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