Fake Music Review: Tres Goombas Three - Straight Out Of Elmwood
Straight Out Of Elmwood Park by Tres Goombas Three is the inaugural disc by a Garden State trio (and occasional quartet) advancing an amalgam of Bush 1 era hip-hop and Eisenhower’s Cold War street corner doo-wop. (The rumor of an earlier testament, It Takes A Nation of Eggplants to Hold Us Back, is sadly just that, a rumor.) Really, it’s just suburban NJ kids rapping street corner a cappella. While it’s far more offensive and far less creative both verbally and sonically than the music they exploit you still get to check off some stereotypes.
Two big BIG thumbs up to producer Ill Douche’ for getting this rank slab of hubris into the marketplace at a time when it wasn’t needed or wanted. Resist!
An unnamed turntablist opens the platter by chopping up some “Be My Love” by Mario Lanza before Vinnie The Ginny, Emperor Antony, and MC Nero beat him up “’Cause we wanted to, yo/ Spinning that crap like we Black Dagos…” From the jumpstart you realize this isn’t your Grandma’s misappropriation of culture.
So starts “Side Uno” AKA “DOO HOP” where we meet Sausage Queen - a paean to femme d'Iltalia that rhymes casing with tasing (yeah, they’re that lyrically adventurous) and various other sausage references that climax with “feed her my sausage like a bitch in a kennel/ ya outghta see da bitch od on fennel”.
Another chunk of Artistry on the Doo Hop side is “Hunnert Percent Sicilian” - “ 20% Tough 20% Romeo 20% Baller 20% Drunk!” Sure it only adds up to 80% but True Artists don’t reveal all of themselves. You don’t want to know someone 100%. People are pigs. Just another lesson from the mean streets of Elmwood Park. Fugeddaboudit
Other highlights include “Grab a Slice” about stealing fresh slices cooling on the boardwalk down the shore on school cut day, “Tony (The Barber)”- “Who else give you those fresh fades?/ we got the brothers beat in spades.” Side two, aka “HIP WOP” takes the foot off the pedal with “House of Clams” - where the boys sing scat before a dope cover of Bobby Dylan’s “Joey” featuring a foul mouthed cameo by MC Augustus Disgustus who boasts about getting drunk on Peroni and filling cannolis. “Wrist Rockets and Nunchuks” is self explantory but then there’s “North Of North Jersey,” a reflective, smooth jam ballad full of wine coolers and Marlboro Lights about getting away from it all where "all I want is my stash, cash and Josephine D’Amico’s mustache" There may just be a Joey Fatone in this bunch yet.
The hagiography of John Turturro is sprinkled throughout the platter like jimmies on wedding cookies. Check out these quotes, yo - From To Live and Die in LA, “If you're looking for a pigeon, go to the park.”, Miller’s Crossing “Yeah, well, you stick by your family” and Do The Right Thing, “It's different. Magic, Eddie, Prince...they're black, but they're not really black. They're more than black. It's different.”
That an icon of Italian-American cinema pops up again and again is no accident. St. John’s pronouncements are more than a mismanaged, bungled mish mash of cultures. Snippets from The Godfather or the Sopranos would have been too easy. Sure, there’s dichotomy. You can take the boy out of Elmwood Park but you can’t take Elmwood Park outta the boyyyyy! As MC Nero declares in Goomba Nation “I ain’t like you all outta my mind/ my goombas and me are one of a kind”. This opus lays bare the dichotomy of the Italian-American immigrant experience, transcending the rather simple, and let’s face it, mundane Madonna/Whore opposition trotted out by every other act with a thesaurus and a CD collection.
This is where the disc triumphs. It doesn’t resolve itself in easy dead-end answers and impotent laments about politics. It prides itself on the ability to blend in. “Y’all ways bragging about what you not/ but me I’m the meatballs in the melting pot”. The strength of Americans is their ability to cancel one another out. Meatballs which taste good are thrown into the Melting Pot where everything runs together. And while at first blush these guys are more like a Roman Catholic 3rd Bass with a steady pimp hand and maybe not so Jewish they’re meatballs till the end. And proud of it. That only one of the three is Italian-American only reinforces the disc’s power.
So,where does this sonic joyride through the storm and dang of Jersey ‘Utes leave us? Feeling better about ourselves, of course. The Italian Republic is crumbling again but this time no one wants to leave. And why would they when Vinnie The Ghinny, Emperor Antony, and MC Nero got some 40’s and Skinemax down in the basement?