Mad Rad: Sex, drugs, parties and rap

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Artist: Mad Rad
Album: The Youth Die Young
Hometown: Seattle, Wash.

Score: 7.25/10

“Cave Man,” the lead track off Mad Rad’s sophomore album, features a chorus which could be the Capitol Hill party rappers’ mission statement and your response to the song’s repeated lyrical blast of “Fuck you, that’s how we do around here” will determine whether you enjoy The Youth Die Young.

The men of Mad Rad — P Smoov, Terry Radjaw, Buffalo Madonna and DJ Darwin — are some of the most polarizing musicians in Seattle because of their brash and bratty attitudes toward parties, sex and drugs (and not to mention their rap sheet).  This is likely why the group thrives in a live setting where their shows are more like enjoyable, engaging and raging parties compared to the performances of many of their peers. On TYDY Mad Rad keeps up its reputation for sharing stories of sex partners and parties without letting up on the details and the result is one of the best local party records of the year.

While the album has its low points (“Underwater” and album closer “Jungle Cat” come to mind) there are some good tunes with great beats and clever raps on TYDY. The plinky toy piano rhythms of “Epiphany” will at the least make you bob your head. “The Machine” picks up the tempo with quick rhymes spit over a elastic electro beat and the handclapping on the record’s title track is contagious. But as alluded to earlier, the album isn’t a party without its lulls. “My Friends” is the closest thing to filler material the record offers and greatly throws off its momentum. The screamy and aggressive “I Want Your Blood,” complete with its raunchy and explicit lyrics (sample: “Let’s eat pussy, pussy, pussy. It’s so gushy, gushy, gushy),  is almost as polarizing as Mad Rad itself because it’s a song that is equally annoying as it is enjoyable.

It’s tough to say whether the good outweighs the bad on TYDY because it’s a matter of perspective. Do you appreciate hip-hop with nasty, clever and sexist lyrics expertly layered on top of some killer beats made by one of Seattle’s best producers (P Smoov) this side of Jake One? If so TYDY is the record for you. However, if you are sensitive to sexuality and swear words you might want to turn elsewhere to get your local hip-hop fix. And if you’re a part of the latter group Mad Rad’s message to you would likely be a hearty “Fuck you, that’s how we do around here”

Travis Hay

About Travis Hay

Travis Hay is a professional music journalist who has spent the past 13 years documenting and enjoying Seattle's diverse music scene. In 2009 he established Guerrilla Candy and is currently the site's editor and publisher. He has written for various media outlets including MSN Music, the Seattle-Post Intelligencer, Seattle Weekly, Crosscut.com and others and was the founder and former editor of the defunct music site Ear Candy.