The independent news organization of Duke University

Bitchin' and Rappin'

ecipe for artistic dynamite: Mix two performers loaded with musical talent, add a healthy dollop of sexual politics, heat under strong fire from extreme leftist role models, flavor with self-righteousness and wait. The result will either take off or blow up in your face. Eternally Hard, the latest album from duo Bitch and Animal, does both.

Backed by Righteous Babe Records (the same company that was founded by Ani DiFranco and friends), Bitch and Animal are two young female artists with a distinct sound, a taste for the radical and a soft and sultry groove that's twisted by their strong New York accents. The title of their album, Eternally Hard, references the chorus of their first song, a soft and thumping rap called "Best Cock on the Block." If a male artist attempted to pull this one off, he'd rank right up there in rankness (and innovation) with Eminem. Having two women harmonize as they throb out lyrics like "my dick it's like chick bait/ one bite and they're hooked" is pretty hilarious, albeit a bit awkward. Still, "Best Cock on the Block" is one of the strongest tracks on Eternally Hard, with a rocking base and intricate vocals that wind around the words.

One of the best things about this album is the ease with which Bitch and Animal maneuver moods. The tracks seem to slide seamlessly together, yet each features a different tonal scale, a fresh theme and even a refreshing lead voice (Bitch and Animal alternate on vocals). At its best, chasing Eternally Hard's transitions feels like following a train of thought. For example, the luminous, languid "Traffic" seeps into the harder, shimmering sounds of "Scrap Metal" as if it's an awakening. The progression is logical, but not predictable, and it's extremely fun to anticipate. The wide ranges of tone, style and theme presented in Eternally Hard are exactly where this album goes right.

It makes some wrong turns, however, in its self-righteous contradictions. It seems wrong to attack any artist brave enough to embrace an alternative (and sometimes derided) lifestyle. However, it's also strange to ask for respect and humanity while choosing stage names like "Bitch" and "Animal." Some people find it empowering to embrace and reassess derogatory terms. This Recess girrrl suggests, in her bitchy and animalistic way, that the artists gain respect through their message and ability, not through the shock value in their names, and also in some lyrics.

"Prayer to the Sparkly Queen Areola" may sound cool at a Second Wave Feminist rally, or even at a crunchy concert, but it doesn't fly on an otherwise soaring album. Prudes and people tired of sexual correctness shoved down their throats should also steer clear of "Boy Girl Wonder," a lament that "he's got a real one, but mine's from the store." It walks a fine line between hard-hammering and hilarious, and ultimately, it registers as both.

Overall, enthusiastic sparkles for Eternally Hard. With complex, lulling harmonies and lyrics that are both intriguing and amusing, Bitch and Animal should guard their assets carefully. With their dynamic style and fresh (though sometimes forced) viewpoints, they could quickly overtake the ashen Ani DiFranco as the new, true voices of the electric, alternative generation.

Discussion

Share and discuss “Bitchin' and Rappin'” on social media.