Weird Al of hip-hop?
When Turquoise Jeep came ridin’ into Sacramento on Thursday, August 30, many still questioned whether it was all a big joke. Even after 9 million YouTube hits for the band’s most popular song, “Lemme Smang It,” it’s still unclear whether the over-the-top hip-hop artists planted their tongues in cheeks before taking the stage at Ace of Spades.
Amid big beats and bigger dance moves, a couple hundred fans freaked on the dance floor, but even in the presence of the band, many seemed to be unsure if they were there for the music or the punch line.
Turquoise Jeep, whose members include Flynt Flossy, Whatchyamacallit, Yung Humma, Pretty Raheem, Slick Mahony and Tummiscratch, takes the oddities of rap and turns them up to 11. With gimmicks such as Flossy’s Groucho-like mustache and Yung Humma’s incorporation of the oh-too-familiar moan-hum of hip-hop into his name—“Mmm, Yung Humma”—as well as physics-defying dance moves and their songs’ sexual subject matter, everything they do is taken to silly extremes. Turquoise Jeep is just one stop short of becoming the Weird Al Yankovic of the hip-hop world.
The band’s music videos are low-budget, green-screen dance fests that aim to further prove that any innuendos within its lyrics are so thinly concealed as to no longer classify as innuendos. “Cavities” is a between-the-sheets slow jam that is not about proper dental hygiene. Lyrics such as, “You’ve got that chocolate fever / Feigning for a Hershey dose / I got that remedy / An ounce of me / So open up wide for these cavities,” offer the oral proof of innuendo, but the video also features a close-up shot of a pair of bikini-clad breasts as the lady runs a Hershey bar between her cleavage—don’t forget that T.J. is so sexually proficient, it had to invent a new word for its style of lovemaking, smang: it’s a smash and bang fusion.
While the Jeep may be flamboyant and flashy to the point of absurdity, it’s still completely believable in the current world of hip-hop and rap. So, in the end, we’re left to question whether its music is satire or just the natural peak of hip-hop’s current hypersexual hyperbole.
Still, all of this would be intellectual masturbation if their music, well, sucked. The Ace of Spades show proved that Turquoise Jeep could blow the roof off of a club. Taking the “it’s true ’cause we say it is” approach, the members of T.J. act like high-budget mega superstars and sex symbols, and the crowd gladly plays along, because they sell it so well.
Even if T.J. is parodying its genre, it’s putting out music with better beats and hooks and more intelligent lyrics than Lil Wayne and the clones that flood the market. If a few of the opening acts at Ace of Spades that night were any indication—one group was so incomprehensible, it was almost laughed off of the stage—Turquoise Jeep are the rappers that the world needs. Such opulent absurdity seems the perfect vessel to satirize the often outlandish hip-hop atmosphere, but who cares?
In the end, we all just love to dance. “Clap, clap, clap. Clap, clap, snap,” indeed.