Mystery Krew: Seriously funny and other oxymorons

By Jimmy Alford
jta0033@gmail.com

I was hoping to interview Mystery Krew in the comfort of a dank, alcohol-filled dungeon on the square, where I could both question the soon-to-arrive trio of rappers and drink away the long Tuesday I was enduring. Friday and Saturday drinking is for amateurs. Midweek, mid-afternoon drinking is where you find professionals, and I am a professional.

Too bad, though. I was beckoned from the darkness into the harsh and unrelenting tungsten glow of overhead streetlights. I saw the group standing just outside the doors of the bar, unable to enter. I don’t know what I was expecting, but the three of them didn’t quite fit the image my addled brain had concocted.

Youngsters.

MK6_webIf I were an old curmudgeon (and indeed I’m getting closer every day), that is what I would have grumbled. Never had I seen more fresh-faced and trustworthy-looking guys in Denton, especially ones claiming to be rappers.

Looking young is no mistake of the light either. They are young: Matt Woldt, the University of North Texas finance major, Phillip Wilson, the future lawyer going to TCCC, and then there’s Jason Pollard, the UNT creative writing and RTVF major. And not one of them is 21 yet.

Whippersnappers. 

At this point, the record in my brain scratches to a halt, as I process this new information I’ve been given. But once I got the needle back in the groove, I realized I couldn’t have asked for a better mix in a rap group, a crew that promises jokes over bitches and hoes. Their age, plus the unassuming innocent-white-boy look makes the quality of their beats and rhymes all the more stunning.

Mystery Krew just dropped their first mix tape, a collection of seven songs (plus an interlude, Interludes don’t count). They’ve pieced together a sound that begs to be listened to, mixing lyrics about existence, the absurd nature of our reality, and dick jokes… because nothing in this world is complete without a great dick joke. Looking around Denton, I don’t see many places where rap artists could find a large fan base, or at least not a sustainable one. But this kind of hip-hop offers a funny, smart, and often refreshing twist on the genre that suits the culture here.

Coffee is a poor substitute for whiskey on ice, but the show must go on, so we all sit down. I feel like I’m back in college and it’s study group. Like most of my college study groups, things quickly go awry. the interview doesn’t seem to be off to an auspicious beginning.
“I go through genre phases. Fortunately when they asked me to hop on, I was in a really big rap phase,” Pollard said. “Kanye’s album had just come out …”
“Was it called piss?” I said, showing how very little rap I listen to.
“What?” Pollard almost looked frightened at the sudden turn in the conversation.
“Maybe that wasn’t Kanye,” I said, trying to play off my stupidity. “Who was it that caught peeing on the girl?”MK4_web
“No that was R. Kelly,” Pollard suddenly knew exactly what joke I was trying to make, and backed by Woldt and Wilson, the three nodded in agreement. “I mean Kanye probably has peed on somebody. He’s pretty veiny.”

“There’s no way he could be where he is without pissing on somebody,” Wilson said.

At this point a general comfort level was reached, knowing we were all fine talking about urinating on people. They start laughing about how far from “gangsta” they are as white suburban kids. At the same time, they also know rapping for laughs isn’t exactly virgin territory. The monsters of the genre are of course the Lonely Island Boys, and the renowned Weird Al Yankovich (I think we all remember Amish Paradise). Barely out in the world with their sound, they have already been accused of being Andy Samberg wannabes.

“That’s a little unfair,” Wilson said. “There aren’t too many groups doing this out there.”
Woldt called it a starving genre and wonders why there can’t be multiple comedic rappers.
“We’re not trying to be like them. That’s like saying Muse is trying to be like Radiohead,” Woldt said. “They are both just doing their thing.  If we make anything near the same quality as Lonely Island, then we’re doing something pretty good.”

Woldt and Wilson have been at this for a few years, recording rhymes in Wilson’s bedroom of all places. They’ve got a system down, knowing exactly how much the bathroom door can be open before it messes with the acoustics (not a joke… they really have long discussions about how open the bathroom door can be while recording). “Phil and I started recording just for fun and it was called ‘I Wanna Date Cha’ and it’s not in the mix tape,” Woldt said. “We made it in eighth grade so it wasn’t very mature, but we showed some people and they liked it. So we’ve been doing it ever since, guerrilla style, one song at a time.”

MK2_webBut don’t think that every song has a punchline waiting for a laugh track. “We are more thematic. We have this song called Pixie Stick and we never make a straight-up joke,” Woldt said. “It’s really a song making fun of rappers who talk about the size of their penises.”

“We took it back to the greek times when it was thought that having a smaller penis was good, like you’re youthful and having a bigger penis was frowned upon. It’s pretty much Socrates and Plato rapping about how having a smaller penis is great.”

“It’s 3 1/2 minutes that is solely dick talk,” Pollard said.

“But it’s not douchey,” Wilson added.

Wilson said the best way to describe their style is to take the watered down messages people would hear in school or from your friendly neighborhood public relations rep and have fun with it by saying, “It’s not the size of your dick, it’s the size of your heart.”

“It’s sweet, but also vulgar… a salty sweet kind of thing,” Pollard said.

Now for a message from the writer, scribbled after he left the interview and ducked into the nearest pub.

From here, everyone involved is pretending to be someone else.

For the illest intro to the these three hip-hop stars, read over their answers to the questions everyone has been asking.

Name: Matthew Woldt
Character name: Max Wolfe

Why did you get into rapping?

Easy money, get some bitches as well, also, you get a lot of discounts and I really like my waffles. I know I’ve made it when I get free waffles, man.

What or who inspires your style?

A lot of people inspire me, but for one, I have to say Jesus, because he’s my one and only and is always there for me when it’s too dark to see.
Also, I really like Lil Wayne, he’s pretty cool.

What’s your crib like?

Currently doesn’t exist, but it would look really nice. I spent a lot of my money on food I didn’t need, so my home was stolen or what some people like to call, “Foreclosed”

Do you get treated differently now that you’re a rapper?

Very differently, bitches are flying left and right, wanting a piece of me and my family won’t invite me to dinner anymore, but oh well, I don’t need their Christmas presents anyway.

What do you think about other rappers?

As long as they stay out of my territory, they won’t get bit, ya hear?

What is the best part about being a rapper?

Whenever you rapping, it’s like you’re a whole new person and anything is possible. I can be a confident person when I’m rapping, usually I’m not. It’s a beautiful art and I know it doesn’t pay well and it makes me look stupid, but it’s something I thoroughly enjoy and I love having friends while I do it.
Also, bitches love it.

Do you ever battle?

I don’t battle. I go to war.

How do “bitches” and/or “hoes” affect you and your music?

Well, bitches and hoes, like our music, thus helping us spread it to other deserving bitches and hoes and the more bitches and hoes you have listening to it, more money and more tang.

What have been some hard times in your life?

Probably being homeless right now and being disowned, I’m pretty sure this is my all time low on worst times.

What is your favorite song that you have written, why?

Definitely Calamity, because it had a very strong sense of satire and I feel that song hit our sense of humor so perfectly.
Who just said that? It was funny, cause I got to say, “big booty bitches.”

Where do you go from here?

Being homeless I might go to Oklahoma, maybe stay on a reservation, also don’t tell the other guys, because they can’t know. After that, all I can go is up. I hope me rapping about bitches gets me bitches. It’s the dream.

Name: Phillip James Wilson
Character name: P-Dub

Why did you get into rapping?

I like poetry, but I also like being aggressive. Rapping is aggressive poetry, dude.

What or who inspires your style?

I’d have to say it’s a close tie between Barrack Obama and Ryan Gosling, but I suppose that’s pretty obvious.

What’s your crib like?

Reinforced concrete walls, no windows, no visible doors, and no weak spots. I don’t play.

Do you get treated differently now that you’re a rapper?

Sometimes, when I order a tall white mocha at Starbucks, they upgrade me to a vente, free of charge.

What do you think about other rappers?

I don’t.

What is the best part about being a rapper?

The dinero, the veeta, the bread.

Do you ever battle?

Every day is a battle.

How do “bitches” and/or “hoes” affect you and your music?

Man, they straight up hurt my feelings sometimes, but they don’t touch the music.

What have been some hard times in your life?

Well, finding out that Santa isn’t real was pretty tough. This Christmas is going to be hard for me…

What is your favorite song that you have written, why?

Calamity, because it’s straight from the heart, my man.

Where do you go from here?

Mexico, as quickly and silently as possible.

Name: Jason Pollard
Character name: Polar Bear

Why did you get into rapping?

Growing up in the mean streets of Arlington, Texas, it was really the only way to express myself. I was like the guy in 8 Mile except there wasn’t really a pre-existing rap scene to squeeze my way into, and I’m not as good as him. I did have the bleached blonde hair though.

What or who inspires your style?

The sunrise, The Lonely Island, Bo Burnham, that weird feeling when you shower and have a beard and you can’t quite get all of the moisture out of it, Febreeze, Kanye West, people crying at weddings, Kanye West crying at weddings.

What’s your crib like?

Right now, I’m rocking a bedroom in my parents house. It’s kinda like having two live-in maids, if the maids told you to stop sleeping until noon every day.

Do you get treated differently now that you’re a rapper?

Other than the general sadness behind my parents’ eyes when I look at them? Nah.

What do you think about other rappers?

It depends on the rapper, I guess. There’s no real reason to even think about Kanye West since he’s the greatest. Everyone else is alright.

Do you ever battle?

Every day is a battle for me.

How do “bitches” and/or “hoes” affect you and your music?

I really don’t like the terms, honestly. I say them in my verses, but I hate it every time I do. I’m just giving in to rap peer pressure and I’m sorry for that, ladies.

What have been some hard times in your life?

I shot a man in Reno just to watch him die, but I had a friend cover for me. I also shot a sheriff, but I had another friend cover for that. I’m VERY convincing.

What is your favorite song that you have written, why?

My favorite song we’ve done as a group would honestly be the interlude on our mix tape. It’s just this horribly discomforting ethereal mess of Philly vocalizing into the mic and I think it’s hilarious for some reason. Favorite song I’ve written personally? I really dig my verse on Calamity.

Where do you go from here?

Well, if Drake is to be believed; we’re currently at the bottom, so I guess our next step is to make it to “here”.

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