You can interpret the song’s title in a variety of ways. The lab rat could be America, aspiring to Hovercraft away from its problems before crash landing into double-digit unemployment and Kim Kardashian debit cards. The lab rat can be a metaphor for the spastic torment of the creative process. The lab rat can be your ordinary genius lab rat scheming to take over the world with a peer named Pink. But I’d bet El-P is probably just fucking with us. If you don’t think the man who brought you “Linda Tripp” can be funny, you probably aren’t paying attention. Or maybe you have such a refined sensibility that you can’t appreciate the drollness of a cat in a space suit (or a dog playing poker).
The story behind this song is that the file was corrupted, but was finally salvaged by brave emergency personnel. Corrupted sounds right. Originally intended for WeareallgoingtoburninhellmegaMixx 33 1/3rd (RIP Leslie Nielson), “Lab Rat…” is the ideal soundtrack for a bucolic weekend smelting at the iron factory while taking the occasionally break to eat sardines and gruel. The only way this could sound more bleak is if it featured Mad Max reciting Mel Gibson’s Smoking Gun transcripts. Life can be brutal — which is why you occasionally need to ponder the deeper meaning of a cat lighting a Menorah.