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Vonnegutt – $Free.99

on June 15, 2011, 7:58am

Kurt Vonnegut probably did not envision a hip-hop band bearing his name in 2011, but nonetheless, Vonnegutt has arrived. The band’s new mix-tape, titled $Free.99, bears few similarities to the work of the noted satirist, but clever lyrics and wry covers give $Free.99 its fair share of street cred (plus, the music has its moments, too).

Vonnegutt features the hallmarks of all good summer music, including lovelorn lyrics (“Find Your Love”, “Ima Mess and You Love It”), and a hard-partying ethos (the protagonist wants to “Celebrate life so we drink like fish” on “Going Home”). So what do they have that’s unique? How about a Green Day remix? It’s surprising, but “When I Come Around” rings with a fresh clarity (inasmuch as that’s possible when you already know all the words). Guest Cassadee Pope’s voice is clear, and a little punky, backed by ‘90s style girl-group vocals that result in a cross between dive bar karaoke and radio sweetness. The rhymes in the middle effectively toughen the saccharine flavor of the chorus. Blink-182 cover “Dammit” similarly surprises with its recognizable guitar line, and features rapping with shiny-smooth female vocals on the chorus (as well as featuring the excellent sports reference “I keep my enemies running back like a Mendenhall”).

“Put Me Back Together” is a straight-rhyming song, with a smooth flow on choruses of Weezer’s “Put Me Back Together” that result in a slick beat anyone can get behind. These are, for the most part, not songs laden with images of bitches or sexual innuendo (though there are a few of those—see “Gone” for your full fix); Vonnegutt is mixing in whatever interests them, which makes the music palatable to even the casual fan. And for summer listening, you can’t get much better than this: catchy, full of attitude, and not too serious. As the rapper intones on “Dammit”, this “[has] me feeling cooler than the a/c.”

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