Max Bell is a bully on the blog.
Everyone’s favorite comedian, Steven Wright, once sang, “Wind chimes are for stupid people so they’ll know that there’s a breeze.” A young Self Jupiter a.k.a. “Mr. Sandman” broke his parent’s wind chimes as he tore the silver lining out of the coloring book he used to practice writing expletives. The sound didn’t pacify him.
And so, with his new single from the Kenny Segal assisted EP, The Kleenrz, Self is at it once again, kleening everything by exposing the dirt. It’s a paradox. But the grim, the grime, the gray—they’re far more interesting. Thusly, we have “Mr. Sandman,” the second single off the EP to receive a visual treatment, this time arriving in the form of eerie pastel projectiles from the guys over at Overture.
Rapping over another deftly sparse Segal production—something a five-year-old hip-hop savant might craft on a Casio he found in his basement—the only rapper on Nip/Tuck lets you know that your favorite rapper has pillow stuffing for a gut. Which is just another way of saying that it’s easy to hide behind hip-hop clichés—you make your own list and I’ll keep mine to myself—and self-mythologize à la Ricky Rozay.
But this rotund rhymer has a different story to tell. Instead of the flipside to a drug deal gone wrong, a flipside to what is already fantasy, Self takes it back, dispelling the myths of our youth, those that we all suck on like Easy-Bake cake mix popsicles. Ultimately, Self continues to be on point like Pinocchio’s nose.
The clowns have torn gowns and smeared happy frowns. The painted horses have had their fake horns broken off. The princess doesn’t make it to the end of the movie. There’s no third act redemption. She dies of an overdose in a derelict and abandoned hotel room. And just so you know, your parents hated creeping into your bedroom to slip a dollar under your pillow every time you lost a tooth.
“Mr. Sandman” is a meditation on the meaning of art and artifice. Yes, art can sometimes be fun and easy to swallow, but in an ideal world, it would challenge both artist and spectator. It would provoke thought in search of the ever elusive truth. It wouldn’t add to the illusion. Now, I’ll do us both a favor and end it here, save the platitudes, and end with this kernel from Jupiter: “Life imitating art can define us.”