The Printz

June 11, 2004 at 04:00 AM EDT

Born on restless, underrepresented city blocks, hip-hop has been cited — and often reviled — for its relentless aggression. But since the genre’s become a billion-dollar biz practiced by slick, calculating tradesmen, the edgy element has become more elusive. That doesn’t mean dopey dilettantes like Australia’s Bumblebeez 81 won’t periodically play at it, simulating angst with what appears to be the only sonic tool at their disposal: distortion.

MTV watchers may be familiar with the ‘Beez’s static-ridden hybrid of rap and indie rock showcased on ”Pony Ride,” a crude, semicatchy single memorable mostly for its clever video. But lead Bee Christopher Colonna’s partly annoying, wholly unintelligible emceeing on ”Pony” could not possibly prepare you for the nasal pseudosnarl of lady rapper Vila, who dominates the album’s latter half.

”I wanna be a rapper, not a ho backstage/At an Eminem show making minimum wage,” she snaps, copping a Caucasian ‘tude only a Beastie could love. Sure, it’s nice to want things, but neither her fuzzy flow nor The Printz‘s lurching low fidelity measure up to anything reigning aggro-prince Em could dream up.

The Printz

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The Printz

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