Release Date: Jun 25, 2013
Record label: Anticon
Genre(s): Rap, Alternative Rap, Underground Rap
Dismiss the Kenny Dennis LP as a comedy side-project and you’ll end up missing the joke. The big one, I mean, the one that starts out with a guy walking into someplace and ends in the human condition. In this go-round, Chicago undie rapper Serengeti—as in “un-heralded, un-bought, un-known”—plasters a Shih-poo above his lip and channels a bizarro alter-id.
Some MCs take years to develop a unique rhyme style; some, like Marshall Mathers or MF Doom, even go so far as to create an alter ego so they can get raw on the mike without remorse. Anticon rap artist Serengeti has been pulling a Nathanial Hornblower, performing as the fictional Kenny Dennis since 2006's Dennehy, when he "grew a mustache the size of Mike Ditka's head." The character (who resembles one of the Chicagoans from Saturday Night Live's "Da Super Fans" skits) has increasingly been making cameos on Serengeti records ever since. Tying the absurd stream of consciousness raps of Das Racist and the drowsy '90s-style stoner flow of Funkdoobiest, 2013's Kenny Dennis LP continues from the six-track 2012 Kenny Dennis EP.
Going off last year's Kenny Dennis EP, it was easy enough to explain Serengeti's alter ego: a simultaneous parody of/homage to the 1990s hardcore rap also-ran now at middle-age, a grizzled blue-collar Chicago guy who's dealing with a workaday existence but hasn't really given up rapping. It was an appealing concept-- a fictional persona who's actually less badass or supernatural than the MC who came up with him. It was also memorably funny, gaining due props from rap nerds and sports superfans alike for the Steve Bartman-exonerating Cubs lament "Don't Blame Steve" and the simmering grudge of the Shaq dis track "Shazam".
What do a former coach of the Chicago Bears, American Gladiators, hot toddy, non-alcoholic beer and Burn Notice Season 3 all have in common? If your answer is Serengeti’s character creation Kenny Dennis, then you're on the right track. If that wasn't your first thought, then here’s some backstory for the uninitiated. Kenny Dennis, (AKA:KDz, AKA:The Deacon) is a white, fifty-something Chicagoan rapper with a Ron Swanson-esque moustache and a love of sports trivia.
The cloud era of hip-hop has been a blessing and a curse. On one hand, the Internet is the proliferation of DIY, allowing anyone with a computer and a connection to share their music with the world. Those who might otherwise go unheard can garner exposure. However, the sea of SoundClouds can also bury true talent, with hip-hop and electronic music suffering most from the dilution.
Bang, bang. That onomatopoeic pairing has two meanings in Chicago, the interrelatedness of which depends primarily upon the emphasis one places on various socio-cultural/socio-economic factors in regards to artistic expression; namely, does art inspire, perpetuate, and/or glorify violence, or merely reflect it? Bang, bang is, of course, the sound a firearm makes when discharged, and I can speak from personal experience when I say that it is a quite distinct and terrifying sound, carrying some sort of un-placeable bite which makes it distinct from its harmless mimics, e. g.