Just so you know, I will be playing the goddamn YouTube song but you’ll have to sit through a bunch of my other self-indulgent white rap shit first.”
…is exactly what happened last Friday night at Chainsaw, as Rapper B. Rich, member of rap groups Shark Tank and Slaves of Spanky, performed a solo show. The set list included songs from Shark Tank’s first album, including “Don’t Shoot” and “Jimland,” as well as his solo, more-experimental rap music.
Since releasing the music video for “Out for a Rip,” B. Rich’s rap anthem for rural, young men, the video has accumulated more than three million views in one month. His performance was best summarized as: Trailer Park Boys does rap. Before sound check, as he nursed a beer, I interviewed him on what’s next for his music and his fan base.
B. Rich is mostly known for his “Out for a Rip” track from the indie rap group Shark Tank, but before he met Height and Lord Grunge, the Kingston native had a band named Slaves of Spanky.
“The band I have at home is a ton of fun, it is rap music but it is with a live band and it is more goofy and punk rock,” he said. “It’s tongue-in- cheek and it’s pretty offensive and light-hearted at the same time. With the Shark Tank thing it was trying to do something that was more rap, just playing with tracks and a DJ.”
Alongside these groups, B. Rich also has a solo career, with a sound that he describes as party rap that carries into every project he’s involved with. “The goal is entertaining people,” he said. “The common theme would be a little bit of humour slipped into everything.”
On the Shark Tank website, both its self-titled debut album and Fun Youngs, the group’s sophomore album, are available to stream. Other than “Out for a Rip,” “Gas Up,” and “Don’t Shoot,” the hooks just aren’t bangers, though.
The album mixes skits in between songs — one of which B. Rich performed on stage, but with the rowdy crowd, the words came out unintelligible. On the tracks, B. Rich and his Baltimore buddies Height and Lord Grunge rap aggressively over beats in baritone voices that fit stories of kicking it in places like Jimland.
“It’s my dad’s workshop,” he explained. “My dad’s named Jim and his workshop’s called Jimland and often in the winter that’s where I go and have a smoke break. So the hook of the song is smoking in Jimland.”
Talking to B. Rich is easy; the vibe was hanging out with him and the rest of the Shark Tank would be chill.
The members mesh well; in fact, listening to the album you wouldn’t know they each belong to separate groups. Lord Grunge is part of Grand Buffet, a hip-hop/rap duo from Pittsburgh, and Height has Height with Friends. On their collaboration, B. Rich admitted “it was mostly just that we all became really close friends and we all kind of had similar interests as far as music goes.”
I asked him about getting more exposure after the success of “Out for a Rip” and his growing fan base: “Rural young men seem to be really enamoured with me. […] So far those are the dudes that’ve been hounding me.”
It’s true. Two men from Georgetown drove two and a half hours to meet B. Rich at Chainsaw. They arrived psyched to see B. Rich as I was interviewing him.
“Do YouTube groupies exist?” I asked.
“Yea, there’s one right there,” he asnwered, laughing and pointing to his entourage of one, a friend that is helping him out with selling merchandise.
Around 11 p.m., B. Rich hit the stage, running through his set list in front of a mostly male audience. For about an hour he played a mix of Shark Tank songs and his solo songs, to minor interruptions of “Fuck you, play ‘Out for a Rip’” from the crowd. His voice boomed and spilled over several indiscernible tracks.
He took a break from his rap music to announce, “You guys want to get weird for a second?” He then proceeded to lip-synch.
The girl beside me grinned and asked: “Do you want to get closer to the front?”
She flipped her curly hair to one side. She was getting down to verses like: “Just rockin’ plaid jackets, chainsaws we operate ‘em right/ Fuckin’ eh right we do bud, we cut our weight in firewood/Every 20 minutes or so… smoke break!/And if the Leafs make the playoffs, I’ll fuckin’ jump in the lake.”
“There,” she said, motioning to a group of guys going crazy at every one of B. Rich’s “fuckyas” close to the front. “Come on.”
“Do you like his music a lot?” I inquired of her.
“I don’t know him!” She laughed. “But he’s hot!”
Remember in high school when boys would form satirical rap groups for talent shows? They wore sunglasses and Bass-pro hats, performing their own songs with names like “Menstruating Cat,” and the audience would generally be entertained. Rapper B. Rich is the grown up version.
When B. Rich finally played “Out for a Rip,” the entire audience knew the lyrics, and it was clearly the highlight of the night. “Just out for a rip are ya bud?” is the earworm that‘ll get stuck in your head if you’re so inclined to give it a listen.
For what it’s worth, B. Rich delivered something that cleared a night without expectations.
Before the show I had asked B. Rich if he cared that audiences dismissed him as being just some goofy rapper. As expected, he said he didn’t give a shit, “A lot of people won’t like the more serious stuff I have and some people will only like the goofy stuff. You can’t really worry about what anybody thinks.”
“Sure, but how does it make your SOUL feel about being booed on stage when you play your serious tracks?”
Just joking, of course I didn’t ask that.
Shark Tank’s third album, titled Don’t Fuck with Us, is set to release this year. Rapper B. Rich is going on tour in March. You can follow him on Twitter at @brennyrich.