“Hey Bling, remember when we had opposing gangs? We snapped, we danced, we rumbled, we sang.”
No, Blade did not read the MLA Handbook of Style and become an aging hipster with a sudden case of nostalgia for Popples.
The answer: Team Gina.
The Seattle duo, made up of Gina Bling and Gina Genius, may not be your standard hip-hop outfit, but they have the lyrical wit to make many an aspiring MC take note. According to Team Gina’s myspace: “Team Gina has synchronized dance routines that will blow your mind….[and] matching outfits that will make you cry.”
Themes ringing of masochism, feminism, friendship, love, and queer identity/community are backed by solid dance beats that would be prime material for any proper electro-dance party.Their myspace promises “phat beats” and “hype rhymes” that will get stuck in your head for days, and well, it’s true.
Though the duo has only released two albums, Gina Gina Revolution (2007) and Product of the Eighties (2008), they’ve practically exploded onto the musical scene. Team Gina has has shared the stage with the likes of Northern State, a Brooklyn-based all grrrl trio, the Cliks and the Go! Team.
Gina’s first release Gina Gina Revolution is made up of only 7 songs, but stands out in the duo’s willingness to create infectious music with a confrontational slant. Take the song “A Tribe Called Rocco.” Like most TG songs, it’s multifaceted, lyrically. On one side it’s almost a biography with pop culture references (Jem and the Holograms, what-what!), but there are underlying hints of the band’s politics. “I know what I’d do if I had a hammer/in the morning in the evening and all over this land/incite a revolution then go work on my tan.” Throughout the song there is name dropping like the mandatory Martin Luther King as well as lesser known icons like Judith Butler, Bikini Kill, and Langston Hughes. Though these are all no more than hints, tiny subtexts in the whole piece, they add up. This song alone can put you, the listener, on the same page as the band. You know where they’re coming from. You know where they’ve been. Whether you are a punk rocker living the Riot Grrrl vision or a girlie-girl with your Macy’s card attached at your hip and not going anywhere, you’ll find someone to identify with.
Then there’s the song “Deez (Kids Are) Nuts”, where Bling and Genius take on the personas of two tween suburban white boys, William and Trevor, who while wishing they had street cred, rap about maxing out credit cards and calling people they don’t like retards and fags. Songs like this one doesn’t appear just anywhere. Let’s face it, there’s not a lot of artists willing to call out an entire group for misogynistic/racist/homophobic behaviors.
One of the best songs off of Gina Gina Revolution is the fabulous “Butch/Femme”–the only song off the album featuring a video. The song starts off a lot like the infamous Sir Mix-a-lot track “Baby Got Back”, only here it’s: “I like butch girls and I cannot lie.” Gina Bling and Gina Genius are both very femme, both with 20 years+ dance experience, and turn the song into a hilarious journey into lesbian stereotyping. Yes, I did use hilarious and stereotype in the same sentence. Like “Deez (Kids Are) Nutz”, you can’t take the song too seriously. So while some artists may take a song like this and make the theme: here are the two types of lesbians-femme and butch–and that’s it, TG turns it into a comedy.
This is just a track you’ll have to hear -AND- see to believe.
TG’s 2008 album, Product of the 80s, is an album for those of us in our twenties, born/raised in the 80s. The title track that the album is named after is THE electropop anthem of the decade. From bannana clips and Saved by the Bell to Reaganomics and Dan Quayle, it’s all there.
The reason the song rocks (outside of it’s chorus line: “see you on the Oregon Trail”) is the verse:
“I’ll suck my ring pop in the back of class
and if you’re mean to me I’ll get all Thundercats on your ass“
Needless to say, the song is wicked.
The rest of the album is equally strong, though a tiny bit more pop than its hip-hop electro predecessor. Take for example “Emergency.” It’s probably one of the more mainstream tracks produced by the band. This is the song you give your friends who are scared of new music. The theme is ordinary (falling in love=emergency) and though there are unique TG elements (“I’ll need the cast of Scrubs to recessitate me,” and “you pixelate me like oldschool animation.”), it’s not standout.
The best hip-hop infused song is unquestionably “Rock the Like.” The funnest song: “Wife-Swapping” wherein TG pontificates on the subject of how lesbian dating tends to result in dating the ex of your ex:
“it seems like in the whole world there are only 12 lesbians”
The band keeps up with their strong queer-and-feminist-identified self with songs like “Boobies” and “Girl on Girl Crime.”
Overall, TG is mad GRRRL POWER for the 2000s.
Gina Bling, Gina Genius,
You officially rock my world. Thanks for reigniting the flame of the feminist revolution.