Company Flow – Patriotism
So I decided to start blogging about music, partly as a way of sharing some of the things I love, but also as a way of solidifying the things I think I know about what I like. When I write I learn. Things become solid.
I like listening to music. Most people do, but that act of listening, like any exploration into an art form, means taking a million different sidepaths and driftways, getting lost and finding your way again. It means drawing up theories, either explicitly or without realising it, and comparing everything you first listen to with what you already know.
Anyway, the video this week is Company Flow’s Patriotism, a 1999 single. This is lyrical performance at its peak, furious and uncompromising with its subject and its listener both. El-Producto has some serious flow. DJ Mr. Len (the Space Ghost), has twenty fingers. Like the Dead Kennedys, NOFX or half the punk bands you care to mention, their most powerful rhetorical device is speaking as their enemy, an act of ventriloquism, dissembling from inside. Someone must have ordered a steaming plate of internal rhyme and assonance, but he has been called away. Now we are left to deal with it . This is masterful stuff, and it’s sad they only got two mass-produced CDs out there (one of them entirely instrumental, but not to be dismissed). This is poetry.
This is where the pain grows like poppies
in a Field of Dreams I paid for, I’ll burn it down if operated sloppily –
That gets me every time. There’s something sharp and dystopian happens in the second half, as DJ Mr. Len starts cutting up the phrase ‘God damn!’ and the sample begins a sort of wheedling background melody.
Erase your city head and momument defacer comprising of
patriot droids, sent into the void with lead linings,
Employed by the bureaucrats of automatic twisted rhyme timing
You’re guaranteed nothing but my fat little finger
that lingers one inch off of the big button
I don’t even know how to punctuate that. It defies such bonds.
My favourite flavour of gas is mustard.
Aha yes. There’s a sense of humour here that reins back poetic indulgence, that grounds the work. Truths are being spat. Listen until you know all the words.