Why I’m Voting For Tucker Booth
Rezelection Liner Notes
By Ben Westhoff, Music editor for the L.A. Weekly
So many people slag Tucker Booth. Rappers, journalists, cops. It’s easy. His teeth are weird, he wears swim trunks and flip-flops when it’s cold out, and you’re more likely to find him busking than holding down a job. Give him an inch, and he’ll borrow your car for a week and bring it back with a dented fender and an empty tank. Back when I lived in St. Louis he’d crash on my couch for weeks at a time, annoying me by coming back at all hours drunk. If I wrote about him in the Riverfront Times he’d whine until I wrote about him again. He held grudges, too. One critic said he didn’t like Tucker’s first album, Will Rap For Food, and Tucker still whines about it to this day.
So why do so many people indulge him? Because he’s charismatic. I’ve seen him win over dubious St. Louis car show attendees by rhyming “messiah” with “get higher,” and he’s impressed rap-hating friends of mine with animated performances. In person he’s full of dirty jokes, sports trivia and sober reflection when the situation calls for it. He likes what he likes and doesn’t apologize for it; if he digs the new Bow Wow track he’ll say so.
I believe we’re kindred musical spirits. Shortly after we met in 2004 he played me Tucker Booth 4 President, and I loved it. The title track, “Born High,” “Funny Hooks” and “Fast Living (fat children remix)” captured my imagination as much as anything I’ve heard. The CD maintains a silly/dramatic balance, and is imaginative and inspired throughout. It’s a cliché to talk about rap that doesn’t take itself too seriously – and make no mistake, Tucker takes himself very seriously – but Tucker Booth 4 President works because it’s an honest portrayal of who he is. Often when I hear a Rhymesayers and Definitive Jux CD I think, “Tucker’s got as nice a flow as Aesop Rock or Slug, and his imagery is kooky and unique. Where is his record deal?”
Now that it’s time for Rezelection, Tucker’s life has changed. He’s moved to L.A. He’s married. And he’s not quite as drunk or high. It’s not easy to watch some people grow up, but maturity looks good on Tucker. He no longer needs to act crazy to win folks over; empathy does the same trick. Call it change we can believe in.
released June 1, 2012
Produced by EngLebuRt, Tech Supreme, J-Toth, Nodzilla, Underated, Kenautis Smith and Stoney Rock.