The Geto Boys (an in-your-face respelling of ”Ghetto Boys”) are rappers so supposedly vile that their album, The Geto Boys, almost didn’t get released. The group’s record company, feisty little Def American, depends on mighty Geffen Records to distribute its product; Geffen thought the Geto Boys were too foul to handle. But then the even mightier WEA distribution network came to their rescue.
What was the problem? Was it that, in a song called ”Mind of a Lunatic,” the group almost gleefully depicts a brutal rape and murder? Hey, in other songs they imagine themselves slaughtering a priest, stealing from the poor, and getting AIDS from a girl they then shoot in the back and cut up with a chainsaw.
This sounds like heavy going, I know. But after five or six songs (complete with lively dance beats and cartoonlike sound effects) it’s the vast size of the catalog of horrors, rather than any horror taken by itself, that seems to be the point.
And the catalog starts to seem silly. Stealing from the poor? On their next album, the Geto Boys might just as well do a song about tearing wings off flies. The whole thing sounds like an angry provocation, one that sometimes even gets darkly funny, in just the way an over-the-top gore film like Darkman can be. It’s an all-but-deliberate effort by a bunch of disenfranchised guys to pretend they’re just as bad as the established world thinks they are. Didn’t anyone at Geffen understand that? B-