This is the second Books on Tape column featuring a mixtape from an Atlanta rapper. It’s probably because not only is the ATL a strange, perverse, oddball collective of a city, but also because that oddball-ness crates the perfect environment to breed perpetually hyped, tongue-tied rappers. And it’s this crowded, madcap wordplay that snuggles up nicely against a lot of poetry.
PeeWee Longway is from Atlanta and, unsurprisingly, he’s collaborated with fellow Hotlanta lean-drinker and Books on Tape alum Young Thug. PeeWee was on that mixtape, but more as a sideline player than a star quarterback. And, appropriately enough, this baffling new mixtape, called The Blue M&M, is PeeWee's Super Bowl. There’s a challenge to taking this seriously (exhibit A: that fucking cover art), once you figure it out it's delightful.
Christine Herzer, author of “I Wanted To Be A Pirate,” is a poet like Longway in the sense that her style is equally bizarre and unclassifiable. It’s difficult to call any of Herzer’s works in this chapbook “poetry,” because they’re more like exercises in prosaic experimentation followed by doubt. Words are crossed out, pink splotches spill across the page, spacing seems arbitrary. Also, Herzer once wrote a poem on burnt toast.
Click here to read “I Wanted To Be A Pirate” in its entirety.
“I wanted to be a poem”
In the first poem of the chapbook, Herzer writes, “i remember being very ugly, it had to do with my face. father said wash it with alcohol.” This stunted style and obvious thought trail creates absurdity by unveiling fairly natural thought processes.
Pair with: “Juice”
Young Thug’s in this one, fulfilling the tape’s weirdness quota in one song despite the fact that there’s more than enough weirdness to go around throughout the thing.
“Situation Room I: Family”
Pair with: “Situation” Feat. Offset
Sure, the title similarity makes this an obvious choice, but the strange, over-hyped autotune and repetitive lyrics (“I want you to be my love) remind me of the simple phrases and childish scrawl over Herzer’s poem.
Pair with: “African Diamonds”
Here, Longway refers to African diamonds as “Akon’s boogers,” which is just a smidge weirder than whatever jellyfication is.
“She talks to the surfer boy—”
Herzer writes, “Rose, it doesn’t look good is what S says, in a very matter-of- fact kind of way, which opens her throat even more, most probably because he delivers the line with so much precision and detached-ness and yet grand care, that she is simply grateful for sitting with him.”
Pair with: “Ola”
“He delivers the line with so much precision and detached-ness and yet grand care” is exactly the right way to describe Longway’s atrophied-tongue rap slack.
“He is a FICTION!”
Herzer writes the phrase “makes a mess FUCKs perfection” [sic] and “doesn’t shower/bottle green translucent heat” and “applies Himalayan toothpaste on her pimples.”
Pair with: “Switcharoo” feat. Migos
Migos already rap like neurons bouncing off each other in a manic brain, but when they’re rapping about switching sex partners, things just get messy.