Morrow vs. Hajduch: GDP’s Useless Eaters

By Scott Morrow and Patrick Hajduch
April 27, 2011

Scott Morrow is ALARM’s music editor. Patrick Hajduch is a very important lawyer. Each week they debate the merits of a different album.

GDP: Useless EatersGDP: Useless Eaters (Run for Cover, 3/29/11)

GDP: “Quintuplets”

[audio:http://alarm-magazine.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/02/02-Quintuplets.mp3|titles=GDP: “Quintuplets”]

Morrow: With a background in hip hop as well as hardcore and punk, New Jersey rapper GDP approaches his genre with a unique perspective, coupling an unfiltered vocabulary with sociopolitical themes, banging beats, and a decidedly Aesop Rock-style delivery.

His newest full-length, Useless Eaters, quickly gets at the underbelly of America, whether discussing drugs, war profiteering, climate change, or big-brother distrust.  “Neural Circuitry” begins the album with high-energy hi-hats and a nearly G-funk synth groove, but it hits hardest with its subject matter: hardcore drug use.  There’s underlying intellect, however, and in making a passing reference to Afghani opiates, GDP rhymes, “Soldiers aren’t dying for us / they’re risking their lives for the change / a full ride to college or a meaningless grave.”

Hajduch: Australian producer Aoi makes clanging, colorful synth-based beats that remind me somewhat of the kaleidoscopic dubstep pushed by people like Hyetal.  It’s glammy and full of square waves, and for all the clamor and seeming lightness, it still bangs.  The fidgety beats fit GDP’s restless rhymes well.  He’s equally comfortable deploring battle rap as he is deploying it.

Morrow: Absolutely, the production is on point.  It does a great job of providing energetic as well as dark passages to fit GDP’s flow and lyrical content.  There are definite low-brow moments and unfortunate word choices in those lyrics, such as in the brooding and drug-glorifying “Social Enema,” but thankfully, most songs touch on something substantial.

“Carbon Footprint” addresses mankind’s effect upon the planet and its climate, while also landing jabs at political hawks and no-bid contracts.  “Don’t Worry About the Government” is the most overtly distrustful and conspiracy-laden track, and it includes one of the album’s best lines: “I see the humor in growing tumors where HAARP satellites create monsoons / so you can just text 5555 and make your donation to the suits and the ties.”

Hajduch: The way his voice is recorded, and given the nature of the beat, GDP’s voice and flow on “Holy Grail” sound about as close to El-P as you’re going to get, right down to the part where he calls dudes fags. I don’t care much for wandering conspiracy mongering, but I did find “Oxypolicontin,” about a friend’s history with drug abuse and GDP’s own complicity in the situation, compelling and touching.  For me, the tie that binds Useless Eaters is its self-aware nihilism: life is fucked up, GDP is fucked up, it’s recognized that the situation is fucked up, but what can you do?

Morrow: The use of the “F word” is highly unfortunate, and that seems to be one of the only spots, but there’s no place for that.

As for your take on the theme, that’s dead-on.  The depressing part, I think, is that someone like GDP, who is as tied into domestic and world issues as he seemingly is, could be presenting some of these issues in a more educational way.  In terms of the personal baggage, there is a morbid car-wreck allure, but it seems more like a cautionary tale about coping with a fucked-up world.

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