APPRECIATION: Mickey Avalon
by Marcus K. Dowling
I believe that new is boring and that history is inspirational. These opinions are not necessarily the views of the Couch Sessions. “Marcus Dowling appreciates…” celebrates the memories that define the future. Enjoy.
Absolute honesty and early adoption are crimes punished in the court of popular culture by being branded with unrelenting mediocrity. On Mickey Avalon’s 2006 debut album track “Hustler Hall of Fame,” I heard what is and what will forever be the most powerful half of a mainstream rap bar I’ve ever heard. In being the first man of his or likely any generation to approach the middle with true tales of “fist fucking faggots at the Y on gym mats,” the heavily tattooed, drug addled performer was both extra real and probably a generation ahead of the curve. In having the courage to put that, and a plethora of other stories into rhyme, he’s a performer who may at present be a mediocre and misunderstood outlier, but is possibly the harbinger of a future likely not so far removed. In having the most uniquely honest creative voice of his era, we should both be aware of and appreciate Mickey Avalon.
You probably know the Hollywood-residing Avalon from when he created at his surface expectation. The dirty, tattooed white hipster’s 2006’s “My Dick” achieved its greatest notoriety as an inclusion on the soundtrack of one-note schlock comedy Harold and Kumar Go to Guantanamo Bay. Fulfilling the white rapper stereotype, it’s a non-stop stream of puerile penis jokes, the kind of song your intellect wants to forget but your id demands to remember. However, though his work appears common, it’s in examining the context of the era and the strength of all of the words on his accompanying debut album where his words where he becomes bizarrely impressive.
“Jane Fonda” is blessed from Avalon working with underrated pop genius Cisco Adler assisting with the hook. Advising partiers that “1-2-3-4, get your booty on the dance floor,” it’s an irreverent tale of coked out socialites who love to party. If remixed today Steve Aoki, you’d probably know from a Jersey Shore episode. Mobb Deep-esque boom bap highlights “Roll Up Our Sleeves,” a song about a hardscrabble life lived by a code of hustling and heroin. Need more very real tales filled with very real talk? “Waiting to Die” opens with a voice proclaiming that “We are going to have open sexual intercourse on every street corner of America.” Sounds promising, right? Well, when the hook hits, Avalon strikes with a question both precise and poignant on the existential emptiness that accompanies freedom: “Looking out the window at night can’t help but wonder / That God must be one sick motherfucker / So I bust a nut in the sky / Spend another day waiting to die.”
In telling true stories in something mirroring Slick Rick’s narrative voice, Avalon advanced irony-laden and excessive culture into a place where popular society was likely too afraid to allow it to enter. However, as the the parties grow for a universe now living in a mainstreamed OG hipster ideal, words once regarded hypocritically as lies reflect a past, present and future indisputable truth. Sadly, I appreciate that.