Spose will soon release a new album on a major label, Universal Republic. Happy Medium is not it. The answer to the question "Why?" is the subject of another story (conveniently found here).
Regardless, if the likes of "Pop Song" and "Can't Get There from Here" and "Into Spose" are major-label wrong, I don't want to hear what's major-label right.
The greatness of Spose is that he's exactly the guy who made "I'm Awesome" and so much more than that. He can revel in the ridiculous without being a clown. He's aggressive, passive-aggressive, silly, sarcastic, dead-serious, a chameleon, staying the same shape (a smirk) internally as his outside flutters through the veneers he layers on the window through which you view him.
Or, to quote "Into Spose," which features a magnificent guest turn on the chorus from Space Vs. Speed, "all the gangster rappers want me dead/The artsy rappers want me dead from a zombie plague." This song also contains the line, "shit, I must have jerked off Jesus, cuz I'm so blessed." That's the goods.
Ultimately, the irony of "I'm Awesome" only works if Spose, indeed, is awesome. Just imagine the ego necessary to pull this whole persona off. To self-identify as a weed smoker as tightly as a predicate nominative, to refer to yourself as Peter Sparker (you know, like the secret identity of the weed-smokin'est superhero?), to be the absolute best at self-denigration and self-slander (the remix of "I'm Awesome" here with Mac Lethal has even more verses in the same vein), and still manage to come off sounding smarter and more impressive than just about everyone else.
That kind of complete lack of self-doubt is contagious. Somehow, he's created for himself a secret identity in plain sight.
I wrote about the brilliance of "Pop Song" in the review of this year's GFAC 207 disc, but it needs restating. Not only does it have two choruses of impeccable quality, one Weezer rock, the other Dr. Luke dance hit. Not only does Spose elegantly walk the fine line between pompous high-minded dick and completely sympathetic and lovable tortured-artist-type. Not only is it just a blast to listen to. But it's also the truth.
Every fan you have that attracted the label in the first place loves you for what you are and you hear, "Spose, you're not fucking Rick Ross/We want something more like Ke$ha, 'Tik Tok' . . . Really Spose, would it be that cataclysmic/To make a couple songs for top 40 and rhythmic?"
Could anything be more depressing?
But does anyone in the real world care about this shit? Does it only play to music nerds like me? Is this the "substance" he claims to need in this album's title track? Or is it just more rapping about rapping, the empty, intellectually bankrupt crap that Spose is supposedly railing against?
Sometimes, it really doesn't matter. The way the sultry, gal-vocal "You can't get there from here" line is delivered in the midst of that song's chorus is the perfect capper to a track that's undeniably catchy, even if it's mostly just "look at me: I 'made it' from Maine. Isn't that crazy?"