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Methods of Mayhem

1999 was a good year for the white suburban thuglet: Kid Rock catapulted to stardom as an ace bulldog in a bullshitter's paradise; the proud, fiery crime spree of Rapestock '99 boasted no fewer than eight reported sexual assaults -- two in the mosh pit, for Chrissakes -- and all of the Eminenemas, Korn-holers and Lumpy Bisquicks of the world postured for well over ten million sold units combined. Bartender -- a round of Jell-O shots!

Even 37-year-old former Mötley Cre drummer Tommy Lee wants in on this insanely lucrative rap/metal phenomenon. Having already built substantial street cred by tossing television sets from hotel windows, Lee graduated in 1998 to kicking a famous television lifeguard -- Pamela, his jiggly wife -- before landing six months in the slammer. After rehab, anger management and "shitloads of soul-searching," he's on probation for three years and striving to become the next vitriolic white hedonist to be in your face. (And without the help of any scary clown's greasepaint -- imagine!) Lee's new Cre somehow does include nimble-fingered turntablist Mix Master Mike of Beastie Boy fame and the Crystal Method's keyboardist, Scott Kirkland. There's also a curious cretin from Ohio named TiLo, who, prior to hooking up with Lee in rehab, was just another wake-and-baker living in his car and scribbling crusty-eyed rhymes. Now he's a limo-baker.

Musically speaking, this disc ain't half bad: fast, furious, loud and infectious, with screeching guitars set against loopy, pleasure-seeking beats. Lyrically, it's mostly undistinguished rage with a few sharp elbows thrown toward the tabloids, coppers and society at large. "Metamorphosis" is the exception; in it, Lee ponders fatherhood and -- roll over, Kafka -- the recurring cycles of life. Typical white-rap fodder. From a cross-marketing standpoint, Methods of Mayhem offers a few bones -- however dry and scrappy -- to fans of the blacker elements of rock/rap fusion. There's some scant George Clinton/James Brown flava, but even Snoop Dogg and crotch-throb Lil' Kim lurch through their cameos as if asking "Where's my damn money?" And who can blame them? The two are willing accomplices in an oversaturated musical genre that, at its best, only demonstrates how lazy white boys -- white b-boys, especially -- continue to be. Lawdy, what the dead presidents can make a person do.

If Lee wants to distinguish himself from the pack of frat goons and criminals, he should consider speaking out on how not to treat women, perhaps emphasizing little things, like a) the realities of prison life, i.e., how the karmic wheel of gang rape comes full circle, and b) how American male horndogs can settle for a woman with real breasts. If not, he's forever destined to simply make videos of himself, steer yachts with his hang-low and toil away in some tropical fishbowl. Which ain't bad work (77 million in Internet peep-show revenue, and growing), if you can get it.

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John La Briola

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